Spatial and temporal assessment of oil spills in the Mediterranean Sea

Semion Polinov*, Revital Bookman, Noam Levin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Ship-generated oil pollution is a significant threat to the Mediterranean Sea. We present a geostatistical analysis of oil spills using three databases for the Mediterranean Sea: REMPEC (1977–2000) with 385 spills (17/year), ITOPF (1970–2018) with 167 spills (3.5/year) and EMSA (2015–2017) with 2066 detections (688/year). It was found that 88% of spills reported by REMPEC occurred near coastline areas, while 65% of the spills detected by EMSA occurred within a range of 22–100 km from the coastline. At the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) level, EMSA oil spills densities were positively correlated with shipping and port activity. We conclude that there is a need to develop an open-access database of oil spills that will be based on both reports and remote sensing acquisition methods. Such a database will facilitate more efficient enforcement of international conventions in offshore areas and will increase the likelihood of effective response.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number112338
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Geostatistics
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Oil pollution
  • Shipping
  • Spatial analysis


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