The Ministry of the Environment directs oil pollution response on land and at sea, and chemical pollution response at sea. The Ministry ensures the existence of necessary resources, develops legislation and guides the implementation of legislation. Additionally, the Ministry coordinates international cooperation related to oil and chemical pollution response agreements.
Finland's readiness to respond to oil and chemical spills has been designed for the long term and with a clear purpose in mind. According to the Government Programme (2011), Finland is improving its capacity to respond to oil and chemical spills, for example, by acquiring new response vessels. Funds allocated through the Finnish Oil Pollution Fund are used to maintain response readiness on land and at sea, and to reimburse the costs of spills.
Jouko Pirttijärvi, Image Bank of the Environmental Administration
Off-shore oil spills
Finland's minimum objective for 2015 is to be able to respond to a 30-tonne oil spill in the Gulf of Finland, a 20-tonne spill in the Archipelago Sea and a 5-tonne spill in the Gulf of Bothnia within three days when waters are open and within ten days under icy conditions, with the assistance of neighbouring states. In island and coastal areas, oil spill response actions must be able to prevent oil from drifting into the inner archipelago, with oil recovery taking place within a month. In coastal areas, the objective is to clean most of the shoreline within three months of the accident.
Tasks of the authorities
Several authorities cooperate in organising the response to environmental accidents. Key authorities include the Finnish Environment Institute; the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment; municipalities; the Finnish Transport Safety Agency; the Finnish Navy; the rescue departments and the Finnish Border Guard. Additionally, businesses such as Arctia Shipping Oy and Meritaito Oy, and organisations such as WWF Finland participate in oil spill response at sea.