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New Software Package to Calculate and Report Oil Slicks


Inverness, UK, 25 March 2009 – The Oil Spill Training Company Ltd. ( has released a new software package enabling personnel to calculate rapidly the volume of floating oil slicks. The Slick Calculator and Reporter allows key information to be reported in standardized formats to oil spill response teams and regulators.

The software utilises the ‘Bonn Agreement’ code - an internationally recognised system derived from extensive research and testing. This code uses spilled oil’s appearance to estimate thickness and therefore allows volume calculations for observed oil slicks. Reports are generated automatically by the software in either statutory or international formats as required.

Recent oil spill incidents have emphasized the importance of obtaining assessments and information about resulting oil slicks. The Slick Calculator and Reporter software provides quicker and more reliable results than traditional methods, which have been based on manual sketches and calculations. The Calculator facilitates both the assessment process and rapid reporting. It avoids the need for duplicate or multiple surveys by different organizations.

There are a range of features in the software to ensure personnel make objective observations, enabling a consistent approach amongst users. Disputes and wrangles about spill volumes between interested parties are avoided. This means efforts focus on combating the pollution, rather than arguing about the spill size.

The extent of slicks is determined from either aerial observations or surface measurement; alternatively a digital photograph of the polluted area may be imported into the software and slicks traced within the application. Simple drawing and input tools allow accurate scaling and representation of the extent of observed slicks in metric or imperial units. Oil appearances are identified against the standard international ‘Bonn Agreement’ code. This code is endorsed by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a number of inter-governmental agreements around the world. Further information about the Calculator’s features is available at

The software automatically quantifies the input information as an estimated range i.e. between maximum and minimum spilled oil volumes. The range caters for inherent uncertainties in oil slick quantification. It provides a suitable level of accuracy for reporting and ensures appropriate decision-making for the mobilization of pollution combating resources.

The software is designed for standard PCs running Windows 2000, XP or Vista. Volume calculations are continually displayed within the software as inputs are varied. This means immediate results can be obtained at the site of an oil spill incident, using a Tablet PC during initial surveillance. More detailed reports can be generated in various file formats and customised using a full range of markers, standard terms and symbols. These can be added, edited, catalogued and numbered as needed. This enhances the clarity of reports and improves the recording of information for incident debriefing and historical documentation.

“The new Slick Calculator and Reporter is based on a proven, pragmatic approach to quantifying oil slicks,” said Kevin O’Connell, Director of The Oil Spill Training Company Ltd. “The software brings speed, reliability and consistency coupled with clear reporting functionality. This builds trust between industry, regulators and the wider community, allowing everyone to focus on what really matters during an oil spill – mobilizing the best response to combat pollution and protect the environment.”

About The Oil Spill Training Company Ltd:
The Oil Spill Training Company Ltd has extensive experience in responding to oil spills globally. The company has been involved in hundreds of training courses, reviews, studies, exercises and other oil spill related projects in over fifty countries worldwide.


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