The Black Tide
drifting and then taken in tow, the tanker “PRESTIGE” was the victim of
a leak during a storm on November 13th 2002 which caused a Black Tidal
Wave. The ship consequently broke in two on the morning of November19th
and foundered more than 150 miles from Cape Finisterre in 3500 metres
of water, liberating a large quantity of heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) estimated
between 11000 and 12000 tonnes.
The first Black Tide washed
ashore on the coasts of Galicia in North west Spain, but a far larger
portion is going to spread out into the Bay of Biscay.
now been established that the pollution impact of the “PRESTIGE” will
be geographically far greater than all listed Black Tidal Waves;
because in the first place, this HFO, toxic and very viscous, doubles
its volume and its weight when emulsified in sea water, and will soil
and contaminate sites spread over many miles of coast.
second place, there is undeniably a major risk that several tens of
thousands of tonnes of HFO will surface from the wreck at weekly,
monthly or even yearly intervals thereby causing a “Beach Contamination
This surfacing, which is happening at present, is
limited so far to the escape of the oil from ventilators and PV valves
and is comparable to ribbons of liquorice rising sinuously to the
surface. There are therefore some leaks and these leaks could lead to a
disaster if the tanks break up under a pressure of 350 bars (or
Kilos/cm2) and the HFO has not solidified.
catastrophe can be avoided if the tanks do not break up and the fuel
oil in the tanks solidifies when it will have reached the ambient
temperature of the sea water at that depth.
When the prestige
was still afloat, the HFO was being heated and therefore fluid. It was
still fluid when the ship broke in two and foundered. and it is this
fact which explains why large oil slicks have twice escaped from the
tanks and formed a ‘chocolate carpet’.
At a depth of 3500
metres, the HFO contained in the tanks will not solidify until its
temperature falls to the temperature of the surrounding sea water which
at that depth is 3 deg.C.
It is therefore necessary to wait
until a perfect harmony of temperature between the sea water and the
fuel oil contained in the tanks is established before a statement can
Either that the HFO has solidified in the tanks and
there is no more immediate risk of pollution; or a catastrophe can
arrive if the fuel oil has not solidified and surfaces in large
quantities if the tanks break up. But even solidified, the fuel can
detach itself from the walls of the tanks and float to the surface.
can therefore state that pollution from the derelict can exist
continuously and over a long period of solidified HFO surfacing from
the derelict, and free to circulate, which and can reach other zones
not yet polluted.
The following very pertinent question is going
to be posed; Should the tanker not have been allowed to enter into the
sheltered waters off Finisterre, even if it meant seeing the ship
capsize, break in two, founder and cause a devastating Black Tidal
Wave, worse than that of the “EXXON VALDEZ” and which would have killed
off all the species of wildlife on the Galician and North Portuguese
How would the HFO remaining in the intact tanks have
been pumped out? What could have been done with the wreck or wrecks if
the vessel had broken in two? How could the ecological and economic
“death” of the province have been justified? How could adequate
logistics be managed seeing that the road infrastructures of West
Galicia are derisory?
Having analysed the situations, we can
affirm that the Spanish Government made the right decision in towing
the ship further out to sea and letting her sink in 3500 metres of
water, so that the authorities would have time to prepare solutions and
manage the one or more Black Tidal Waves yet to arrive.
However, the sword of Damocles hangs over the heads of three States.
accident happened faster than we thought, but we have done the maximum
to alert and to be vigilant against the risks of Black Tidal Waves.
a matter of urgency, we must protect the ports, resources; and other
sites but sometimes we note that oil on a beach is less problematical
to treat than if it is caught in the rocks causing a large consummation
of time, work and resources.
The Black Tide of Galicia, will cost infinitely more than the cleaning
up of the Landaise coasts.
developments will lead us to give our point of view on the catastrophic
sites following on to the catastrophe of the Prestige.
necessary to be vigilant, confident and doubt the worst? From the Point
de Raz to Bayonne, nothing can give us freedom from the fear of having
to combat the pollution.
association “GLAMARNO INTERNATIONAL” was created in February 2000
following the sinking of the tanker “ERIKA” south of the Brittany coast
on December 12th 1999. This shipwreck caused an extensive black tidal
wave soiling some 250 miles of the coastline with heavy, vicious,
nearly non-volatile hydrocarbon.
In May 1978, The north coast of
Brittany received its first black tidal wave. It was immense, nearly
260,000 tonnes of Crude Oil poured out from the cargo tanks of the
“AMOCO CADIZ” and washed up on the rugged coastline. Luckily the oil
was lighter and more volatile,
GLAMARNO, made up of a group of
several French Master Mariners is actively intervening to define the
different aspects of the shipwreck and the treatment of the black tidal
wave and attempting to find realistic solutions .
Thanks to the
experience and competence of its members, GLAMARNO (Groupe de Lutte
Anti Marée Noire) proposes help and support to communities
the coast. It is only one of the group’s wide range of activities,
which are namely;-
- Maritime safety; Tanker transport; studies
concerning ship design for pollution prevention; the fight against
pollution caused by hydrocarbons or tank cleaning.
In one year, GLARMARNO published two guideline manuals destined for 400
coastal communities. They are
- Black Tidal Wave Guidelines for the French Coastline.
- Guidelines for the Projected Management of a Black Tidal Wave.
documents have been sent to the authorities and propose a complete plan
for situations concerning prevention; emergency plans and, above all, a
detailed approach to the Projected Financial Management of a Black
Tidal Wave in all its economic aspects; also compensation for damages
vulnerable to be caused by this scourge.
GLAMARNO has therefore,
for the first time in France, developed a global aspect of the black
tidal wave problem under the form of a plan proposing numerous
- To involve the communities in crisis management participation.
- To considerably improve the strategy and efficiency of preventive
- Definition of a real governmental policy regarding medium and long
term projected financial management.
To approach all the procedures of the economic impact in a methodical
way and to propose a simple and rational methodology to help the
coastal populations prepare their Indemnity Demand Dossiers for Loss
Reparations more efficiently.
In one year, GLAMARNO has
interested itself in all the problems resulting from these catastrophes
from which some lessons can be drawn immediately.
association has now become “GLAMARNO INTERNATIONAL” because its major
objective is to share its conceptions with other countries in order to
heighten the awareness of governments and populations to the
devastating effects of black tidal waves and thus, to better prepare
themselves to reduce the risks of one.
The program of “GLAMARNO
INTERNATIONAL” is spread out over a long term, but in the year 2002 our
current work will be directed towards the following countries:-
- The British Isles
In 2003, it will be the turn of Spain and other Anglophone and Hispanic
the following years, by virtue of the experience gained and interest
shown, the development will be orientated towards other European Union
countries and other continents.
It is our ambition to constitute
a truly “International chain” of population awareness concerning Black
Tidal Waves, because the risks are always there.
WE ARE LOOKING
FOR representatives of each country who could integrate themselves into
our team thereby significantly augmenting the efficiency of our
We will reply to all questions.
For all of us, and to all of you, “Good Luck”.
are a Group fighting against Oil Pollution on our beaches (or Black
Tidal Waves) and who also defend the interests of coastal populations
during the period of damage reparations caused by these catastrophes,
both nationally and internationally.
From Maritime Safety
through to the damage reparation dossiers, GLAMARNO INTERNATIONAL is a
player proposing realistic solutions for preventive or critical
OF OUR HISTORY
December 1999 the tanker ERIKA sunk off the coast of South Brittany
causing the second largest Black Tidal Wave France has ever known, only
the AMOCO CADIZ in 1978 was greater.
From February 8th 2000, the
GLAMARNO association was created and was immediately involved in all
the studies concerning this catastrophe and to try and make a
contribution: upstream of the Black Tidal Wave and its immediate
A limited number of colleagues and various other
members have since joined the three resolute Master Mariner founder
members. The numbers are intentionally kept small so that the experts
who form the core of the Group can act quickly, thanks to the
experience and competence of all the members.
Office of the association is in Nice, close to the Italian border and
the Principality of Monaco where there are many international
authorities. Nice is endowed with an international airport so that
European capital and other major cities are no more than a few hours
away from this Mediterranean resort.
Thanks to the scope of
international transport and the meteoric development of
telecommunications, GLAMARNO INTERNATIONAL has the necessary tools at
its disposal to carry out its activities and assure future development.
2000 GLAMARNO published its first guide entitled “ Black Tidal Wave
Guidelines for the French Coastline” It was received by 400 coastal
communities at the time when cleaning up operations from ERIKA’s Black
Tidal Wave were in full swing - but before the operations to pump out
her cargo tanks had started. The population of Southern Brittany were
traumatised by this event. This publication moreover, demonstrates the
main guidelines of the Projected Management of a Black Tidal Wave,
something nobody yet dares speak about despite the two “warning shots
over the bow” in March 1978 and December 1999. Some plans are in
preparation but “the Black Tidal Wave culture is absent from the
March 2001 Following the first Guide, GLAMARNO decided,
as a matter of urgency, to tackle in practical terms, the difficult
problems encountered by the authorities in treating a black tidal wave
and its consequences. A second guide was published; the “Guidelines for
the Projected Management of a Black Tidal Wave” during the period when
compensation and reparations were being settled; and clarifying, in its
preamble, the historical reasons why difficulties still persist in this
Some 400 copies destined for the Government, Ministries,
Prefects, Maritime Prefects, Regions, Departments, communities and
parliamentarians were diffused and largely commented on.
television chain TV BREIZH (channel 22) with international range,
consecrated 2 programmes in April 2001 enabling the president of
GLAMARNO to expound the philosophy of the proposed concept. Which is:-
“To develop a genuine Prevention culture and adapt it to the best
modern resources in order to minimise the risks.
2001 – GLAMARNO decides to work in the European sector and an
experienced British Master Mariner joins the team to initiate certain
propositions and study the possibilities of applying them.
the decision was taken, - to pursue the “International” route - and a
plan was established to study a programme for action in Europe.
2002 : The study was launched, in parallel with an “All Continents”
project which will be pursued during the years to come. This ultimate
stage justifies our new symbol:
“ GLAMARNO INTERNATIONAL”
Commandments of GLAMARNO INTERNATIONAL
To participate in all the problems concerning the prevention of and the
fight against coastal pollution by hydrocarbons (Black Tidal Waves or
2- To participate in the ongoing work concerning
Maritime Safety and Tanker Transportation by Sea (construction,
exploitation of ships, diverse risks, crew training, etc.).
To benefit Coastal communities by using the group’s specialised
knowledge regarding prevention and risk evaluation in the event of a
Black Tidal Wave.
4- To elaborate on and diffuse the “Black Tidal Wave Guidelines”
5- To apply the recommendations contained in the Guidelines for the
Projected Management of a Black Tidal Wave.
To bring help and advice to organisations and coastal populations
regarding risk evaluation on the economic plan and the reparation of
losses and damages.
7- To collaborate with governmental
authorities, regional maritime groups, territorial and other
organisations concerned with the problems of marine pollution.
8- To develop an international action plan: European Community and
other continents from 2002 onwards.
9- To make sure that the current rules are followed and the preparation
of international dossiers.
10- To contribute in the widest possible diffusion of information
concerning the prevention and fight against Black Tidal Waves.
president of Glamarno International enters into dialogue with Captain
A.C.Collop of the British Merchant Navy.
Ghorbal – Tony, you have discovered GLAMARNO by accident one year after
its creation. You have spontaneously asked to join. What were your
Anthony Collop. – Curiosity. It is true that I
discovered Glamarno by accident. I was lighting the fire in my
fireplace when I saw your advert in the page of newspaper I was just
about to burn.
GG – You are a retired British Captain of VLCCs
of 400,000 tonnes, you have had a long career in the merchant navy and
in management as a Superintendent in Kuwait.
Why are you so passionately interested in the pollution problems due to
a Black Tidal Wave.?
- Having lived in a seaside resort in England and in France too, I can
imagine my feelings if a Black Tidal Wave arrived in my neighbourhood
can visualise the devastation caused and the feelings of despair and
anger felt by the population, especially those whose livelihoods depend
on the sea.
GG - You like to write and have frequently written
extremely interesting articles on maritime subjects and have sent them
to magazines such as “Seaways” and “Safety at Sea” etc.
You are a
member of the “Nautical Institute” and also fascinated by the “Black
Tidal Wave Guidelines” published by Glamarno. Why?
I believe that they fill many gaps that until now have not been a
addressed by any person or government. You have covered everything in
the two Guidelines and I congratulate you.
G.G. - After having
passed a trial period, you are now, at the end of several months, in
charge of the International sector of Glamarno International. The
targets of the “group fighting against black tidal waves” are
ambitious, because all the continents figure in our program of
activities over the next few years.
Has your motivation and
curiosity been fully satisfied when you discovered that Glamarno offers
you the possibility to show your competence in such large horizons?
A.C. - Yes. I feel fully satisfied.
G.G. – Our international program can be measured by the ambitions
manifested by pioneers and adventurers.
2002, we venture into the unknown, but since we are working for the
general interest and the results of our action can benefit some
millions of people, do you think that our “task” is exciting and that
specialists from many countries will not be slow to join us?
– Yes, I think the task is exciting, but I think it could be difficult
to convince all the countries – especially the English speaking ones.
However , we must make the effort and we will win in the end.
What we are doing,, nobody has ever done before. We are going then
where we hope to be closely observed. We will also make some
discoveries thanks to the contacts we will establish in diverse
Do you not feel a certain apprehension of duty attack you
for the first time in a mission for which you have no references or in
a world where nobody waits for you?
A.C. – Yes, I am apprehensive, as you say I have never frequented this
world of high finance and governmental seats.
– The studies that you have undertaken for Glamarno concerning the
underwater detection of oil slicks continues. Do you think the solution
can be found by installing special devices on board the tankers or
should we pursue the studies in other directions?
A.C. – I
believe it is possible to make the installations on board provided it
is not necessary to purge the product from the cargo oil. If that is
the case, then it would be better to let the refineries cope with
loading discharging and purging out the product. There are other
possibilities which we can discuss later.
G.G. Tony, sincerely,
is it more difficult or less difficult to reply to the challenges
thrown at you by Glamarno or to pilot a loaded VLCC through a narrow
A.C. – More difficult. I am used to driving
VLCCs and UMCCs fully loaded in the Dover Straits or Malacca Straits or
anywhere else.; but I have no previous experience to conduct
negotiations at the necessary levels.
G.G. – At Glamarno
International are you now convinced that the atmosphere is convivial
and that Anglo French friendship is not a vain word?
A.C. - Yes,
the atmosphere between us is very cordial but I am not so certain for
Anglo-French friendliness. Sometimes the two nations get along well
together, other times they detest each other. I believe that things
will improve between them as partners of the EU.
G.G. - Thank you Tony and Good Luck.