- 1 What oil is it?
- 2 How to explain such an impacted surface?
- 3 Can this synthetic product evaporate?
- 4 Can this dispersed oil be recovered?
- 5 What if that thin film of oil got to the shore?
- 6 Can a synthetic product really have no impact on the environment?
- 7 What contribution can CEDRE make?
A synthetic oil of the Panolin type, presented by its manufacturer as “environmentally acceptable”. The Swiss company that sells it mentions an organic oil without consequences for the environment. According to the first elements of the investigation, it would be a liquid used for the hydraulics of the ship. The Aeolus has an impressive on-board hydraulic power station to put the vessel on the bottom and raise it, as well as to carry out deep drilling. A ruptured hose or a leaking seal could have resulted in the loss of this oil. A hundred liters, according to the captain of the ship who himself contacted the Cross Corsen on Monday morning.
The oil has a very high spreading capacity. A drop is already spread over several cm². A hundred liters can cause a long drag. This is the case for the pollution observed since the impacted area is more than 15 km long and a little less than 3 km wide. The oil layer is extremely thin (a few microns) on the surface, which makes its recovery particularly difficult.
Like hydrocarbons, oil evaporates naturally on contact with air and heat. The sunshine conditions are currently strong. But we do not know precisely the evolution of this synthetic oil on the surface of the water. As soon as CEDRE in Brest has collected a 20 l sample of iridescent water, the laboratory will be able to measure its behavior over time. The sun and heat should help reduce the water table. Overflights will be provided by the national navy during the day.
The impacted surface is “significant”, in the terms used by the maritime prefecture. Millions of liters would have to be pumped to recover this thin layer of product. At € 500 per m3 for the treatment of this contaminated water, it is a safe bet that recovery will not be an option chosen.
“We would undoubtedly do more damage by cleaning this thin layer of oil on the foreshore and the flora,” advises Nicolas Tanic, director of operations at CEDRE.
“From experience, we have learned to be wary of all products spilled into the sea. Their reactions and their impacts on the maritime element are precisely to be measured. It is impossible to say today whether there will be consequences for the marine environment. This is a product obtained in the factory. You have to look at its evolution in salt water, ”continues Nicolas Tanic, from CEDRE.
“We are impatiently awaiting the sample of around twenty liters which will allow us to learn more about this synthetic oil. The period is busy since we have been deployed, since yesterday, in Sri Lanka around the sunken ship, as well as off Corsica for an oil slick, ”explains Nicolas Tanic.
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