The below paper is presented in OSI-2011 (International Conference & Exhibition), 29th September-1
October, Holiday Inn
Resort, Goa. Mr.AK Hazarika-ONGC (Chairman & MD) was the Chief Guest, where Speaker (Safar Md. Khan) was honoured
by him also for providing speech on offshore response systems by using bioremediation technology to combat Oil pollution
Offshore Response Systems to combat oil /hydrocarbon pollution in reference of
An oil spill is a release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment due to human activity
or any accident, and is a form of pollution. Oil spills include releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore
platforms , drilling rigs and wells, as well as spills of refined petroleum products(such as gasoline,
diesel) and their by-products, and heavier fuels used by large ships such as bunker fuel, or the spill of
any oily refuse or waste oil.
So, Oil spills are a major menace to the environment which they severely damage the surrounding
In case of oil spillage, it is required to have an effective oil management systems, oil spillage
emergency response team and national contingency plan for prompt action against this pollution
during oil spillage accident.
Offshore Response Systems:
The prime focus of oil spill countermeasures activities is in prevention and planning. This is achieved
through well-designed equipment, good maintenance and operating procedures, sound training
techniques, and a high degree of awareness and concern at all levels by employees and management.
Prevention and mitigation measures should plan for any accidents include: 24-hour manned
automated monitoring for any kind of oil spillage, leak detection systems in pipelines & tank farm
areas, visual monitoring, and emergency shutdown systems for storage and transportation systems
During accident all concerned agencies should take positive measures to deal with the oil spills
within their area and stringent preventive & controlled actions, viz; vessel control with modern
equipments with proper port inspection. Agencies should have an effective oil spill response
There should be mandatory audit of Tier-1,tier-2 & Tier-3 facilities supported by legal rules
surveillance systems by ports against illegal discharge area of responsibility for oil spill
response, standardization of inventory for all tiers capabilities, promulgation of optimum
response time for responding to oil spills by offshore installation operator and formation of
committee to address oil spill response
Offshore Response option decision process:
Offshore response options include:
1-Surveillance and tracking
2-Mechanical containment and recovery
5-Modern tools & equipment
1-Surveillance and tracking
A systems of surveillance for oil spill should be developed to stop it at the early stage,before it
pollutes the coastline beaches.
An accurate assessment and evaluation of oil spill incident is essential prior to any appropriate
spill control and clean up procedure and response can be activated. The basic issues need to be
addressed towards a realistic assessment of the nature and size of the possible threat and of
the resources most at risk bearing in mind the probable movement and expected trajectory of
the spill as controlled by the forces of nature
OSC/OCA should to expeditiously deploy an aircraft from the nearest Coast Guard in case of
accident. The aerial surveillance report should amplify such information as extent of spill
blanket, spill profile, type of oil spill, identify source of spill, assess geographical features of
land, identify potential ecological sensitive areas adjoining the area of spill and marine weather
parameters to verify predictions. The surveillance may utilize IR/UV coverage to record ground
realities of spill for analysis
2-Mechanical containment and recovery
Mechanical recovery, or the physical removal of oil from the environment, is the method that is
usually perceived as the least harmful to the environment. However, mechanical recovery
usually is able to recover only a small fraction of the spilled oil. Experience has indicated that
recovery of more than 20% of the original spill volume is seldom achieved in marine spills. In
fact, in open water under strong current and wind conditions, recovery of only to 10% is not
uncommon. Therefore, mechanical recovery is normally used in conjunction with other
In its simplest form, mechanical recovery relies on a skimmer capable of removing oil from the
surface of the water and pumping it to a storage vessel for subsequent treatment and disposal.
There are two types of oil, persistent and non-persistent. Oil spill response techniques are
based on the type of oil. Mechanical recovery is the best option, but needs to be applied
quickly, preferably within six hours, before spilled oil can spread and emulsify through the
action of the waves. Application of dispersant and type of dispersant needs to follow the
guidelines issued by the EPA & MOEF. Dispersant chemicals should have a toxicity test and be
certified by a recognized laboratory as approved by the proposed Entity
Recovered oil can be sent to refinery for further process or treated through bioremediation
technique for final disposal. Regular monitoring and deployment of booms for jetty operation
can be considered as a preventive oil spill response technique. Bio-remediation of spilled oil
requires containment of spilled oil by booming and considerable time, nearly two or three
months, for microbes to eat up the hydrocarbons. Bio-surfactant may also be applied along
with the bacteria
Chemical dispersants are used to break oil slicks into fine droplets that then disperse into the
water column. This prevents oil from being driven by wind and currents toward shore and
promotes its biodegradation at sea. Key aspects of dispersant use are listed below-
Dispersants should be considered for use with other potential spill response methods and
equipment, and not as a last resort.
For maximum effectiveness, dispersants should be applied as soon as possible after a spill.
During the early stages of a spill, the oil is unweathered and less spread out, making it easier to
The decision on whether or not to use dispersants should be made after considering the
potential effects of dispersed oil versus undispersed slicks. The objective should be to minimize
ecological impacts and maximize net environmental benefit.
If possible, the on-scene-commander should consult with technical advisors who can provide
insights into the area’s ecology and the advantages and disadvantages of using dispersants
In-situ burning (burning oil in place) can quickly eliminate large quantities of spilled oil. Spill
response planners now recognize that there are various situations where controlled in-situ
burning can be conducted quickly, safely and efficiently. Significant advances in techniques and
equipment for in-situ burning have been made in recent years.
The in-situ burning of spilled oil offers the following advantages:
Burning removes large quantities of oil rapidly and efficiently.
Burning can prevent or minimize the amount of oil that reaches shorelines
Burning can often be used in situations where skimming is physically or logistically impossible.
Burning greatly reduces the need for storage and disposal facilities near the slick area.
In-situ burning by containing the spilled oil with a fire resistant boom is an accepted technology
but rarely applied due to difficulty in application and safety reasons
5-Modern offshore response system
(a) Some of the tools used to control oil in a spill include ‘booms’, which are floating barriers
used to clean oil from the surface of water and to prevent slicks from spreading. A boom can be
placed around the tanker that is spilling oil. Booms collect the oil off the water. A boom may be
placed somewhere before an oil spill. They can also be placed around an entrance to the ocean,
like a stream. They also can be placed around a habitat with many animals living there. These
booms absorb any oil that flows around it.
The workers can also use skimmers. Skimmers are boats that can remove the oil off the water.
Skimmers which use pumps or vacuums to remove oil as it float on water.
Smart sponge booms & Skimmer-It is a unique Oeliophylic Polymer which is chemically selective
to absorb Oil & other hydrocarbons.
It encapsulates Oil & hydrocarbon, resulting in substantially more effective response that
prevent absorbed oil from leaching. Once the oil is absorbed, the Smart sponge transform the
pollutants into a stable solid for easy recycling, providing a close loop solution to water
pollution in a sea or effected area.
Physical methods are used to clean up shorelines. Natural processes such as evaporation,
oxidation, and biodegradation can start the cleanup process, but are generally too slow to
provide adequate environmental recovery. Physical methods, such as wiping with sorbent
materials, pressure washing, and raking and bulldozing can be used to assist these natural
Gelling Agents-Gelling agents, also known as solidifiers, are chemicals that react with oil to
form rubber-like solids. With small spills, these chemicals can be applied by hand and left to mix
on their own. For treating larger spills, the chemicals are applied to the oil, then mixed in by the
force of high-pressure water
streams. The gelled oil is removed from the water using nets, suction equipment, or skimmers,
and is sometimes reused after being mixed with fuel oil.
Scare tactics are used to protect birds and animals by keeping them away from oil spill areas.
Devices such as propane scare-cans, floating dummies, and helium-filled balloons are often
used, particularly to keep away birds
Oil spill response equipment:
The maintenance and service of oil spill response equipment are important functions to ensure
their readiness for immediate response. Most equipment is manufactured and supplied by the
overseas parties. It is, therefore, difficult to get any assistance from the indigenous source for their
repair or maintenance during the emergency as earlier we got 2 accidents at Mumbai port , caused
due to collision of MSC chitra and khalijia in sept-2010
The below are the following facilities ,equipments, and technologies which could be the reasons of
better response system in case of oil spill
2-Insitu burning with fire proof booms.
5-Oil recovery vessels
6-Bildge waste collection
13-sorbents-These are sponges that can collect the oil.
14-oil spill kits
17-Clean up oil spills with mushroom and hair.
18-hyper absorbent peat moss could clean up oil spills
Bioremediation consists of using living organisms like bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes,
cynobacteria and to a lesser extent plants, to clean toxic pollutants. These organisms may be
naturally occurring or genetically modified in a laboratory. These microorganisms eat up the
pollutant or assimilate. Bioremediation harnesses this natural process by promoting the growth
or rapid multiplication of these organisms that can either effectively degrade or eat specific
contaminants and convert them to non hazardous bi-products. Bioremediation is an ecofriendly
approach and state of the art technique that employs natural biological process for complete
elimination of hazardous pollutants.
ANALYSIS: Each year approximately 1 million tonnes of oil enters the environment through
natural petroleum leaks .At these volumes and concentrations, ocean bacteria breaks down
all oil because the rate of release from natural oil seeps is low. However, during man-made
spills, the amount of oil can overwhelm the natural microbial community, allowing it to
spread and wash ashore, causing substantial environmental and ecological problems
Types of Bioremediation
Biostimulation provides nutrients and suitable physiological conditions for the growth of the
cultivated microbial populations. This promotes increased metabolic activity, which then
degrades the pollutants.
Bioaugmentation means introduction of specific blends of laboratory–cultivated microorganism
into a contaminated environment or into a bioremediation pit to initiate the process
Bioremediation culture techniques:
The process of developing bioremediation techniques may involve the following steps-
Isolating & characterising naturally-occurring microorganism with bioremediation potential.
laboratory cultivation to develop viable bacterial populations.
Studying the anabolic and catabolic activity of microorganism in a contaminated material
through bench scale experiments and for final observations and bacterial reaction.
Measuring and monitoring the process of bioremediation through chemical analysis and toxicity
testing in a chemical-contaminated media.
Field applications of bioremediation techniques using either In-situ or ex-situ remediation
Why Use bioremediation:
Bioremediation is environment safe, enhanced natural process that consumes hydrocarbons
and converts them to non-hazardous residues.
There are no other pollution generation as it is a clean technology and it reduces the disposal
Treated contaminants can be used as a bio fertilizer in agriculture or as a substitute to farm
yard manure and as a soil amendment to improve soil texture.
It is the most economically feasible method for the safe disposal of the oily sludge as compared
to the other options including incineration and an engineered landfill site
This technique is not only cost-effective but resource-productive as well; by producing saleable
manure as an end product
The technique of bioremediation also helps in avoiding the harmful emissions of the dioxins
from the incinerator.
Instead of transforming contaminants from one medium to another. It totally eliminates the
target chemical without any adverse effects.
Can be done either on-site of off-site.
Ramsorb: Cleans oil pollutants
Ramsorb is a modified cellulosic fibre containing oil eating bacteria with all necessary
ingredients ,viz.; nitrogen, sulphur, phosphorous etc. It is activated by the addition of moisture,
these bacteria have an ideal conditions within which to reproduce and rapidly accumulate to
the available hydrocarbon food source.
Ramsorb is applied by blending the dry absorbent with the contaminated soil or water as
effectively and efficiently as possible. once the hydrocarbon contacts the Ramsorb, it is
completely encapsulated and cannot extracted naturally occurring contact with water .this
extraordinarily characteristics separates Ramsorb from other absorbents and allows the
exceptional bacterial remediation to occur
When furnished with proper atmosphere for growth, bacteria will multiply rapidly. Therefore,
small quantities of bacteria will perform the task of bioremediation over time if properly fed
nutrients, oxygen and moisture.
In bioremediation, no two situations are identical, making it very difficult to formulate recipe-
type instructions for all cases; however a few standardized steps should be taken that will
assure better than average success. if this procedure is followed, a minimal degradation of 40%
should be achieved every 30 days. In optimal conditions, we‘ve achieved as much as 80-90%
reduction in 30 days.
Ph of soil should not less than 6.0 and not greater than 8.5 for optimal bacterial growth.
Excessive level of some heavy metals, chlorinated solvents, fungicides & pesticides will slow
for liquid bioremediation, completely absorb the liquid in Ramsorb until dry to touch.
For low level of contamination (below, 40000ppm) we recommend effective tilling with minimal
one bag of Ramsorb (30 ponds bags).
retain a moisture level no less than 30%.
Temperature about 120 F for extended period will slow the degradation process and
temperature below the 80F.
Though the results from monitoring bioremediation applications were not unequivocally
positive, they provided some very important pieces of information about bioremediation and its
performance at oil spills.
Data collected at the Mumbai oil Spill, due to an accident between Msc-chitra & khalijia, clearly
showed that, bioremediation could not be measured in minutes or even hours, but only over a
period of weeks to months. The difficulty in comparing oil concentrations in sediments between
bioremediated and control sites & oil sticked on the vegetative surface of mangroves was a
confounding factor in measuring effectiveness
Positive information gained about bioremediation was that background microbial degradation
occurred at faster rates than many had expected, especially in the relatively normal or at cold
temperatures. This fact was encouraging for those who support an approach of minimal
intervention after oil spills as a viable option under certain circumstances.
Although bioremediation holds great promise for dealing with intractable environmental
problems, it is important to recognize that much of this promise has yet to be realized.
Specifically, much needs to be learned about how microorganisms interact with different
hydrologic environments. As this under-standing increases, the efficiency and applicability of
bioremediation will grow rapidly. Because of its unique interdisciplinary expertise in
microbiology, hydrogeology, and geochemistry.
So, it’s a most preferred and most viable technology to combat Oil or hydrocarbon pollution,
only suitable and best response systems to SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT IN ECO-FRIENDLY
MANNER without giving any adverse effects on flora fauna & overall environment & this is a
way to adopt the sustainable development in country.
1-Mr.AK Hazarika, Chairman & Managing Director of ONGC
2-Mr.Anup Kumar, Executive Director of ONGC & OSI-2011 Convenor, steering committee.
3-Mr.Shailendra Kumar-ITEN Media (OSI Organiser)
4-Mr.Mohit (ITEN Media-Member Technical Committee).
5-Miss.Ritika Gupta (Area Manager-Oil Spill response), Green Apple Environmental Technologies
6-IG SPS Basra, Indian Coast Guard
7-Mr.Bruce Kivisto, Chukar Waterget Incorporation, USA
8-Dr.YB Sontake, MPCB, Mumbai
9-Dr.RK Suri, Director, Ministry of Environment
Speaker profile: Industry Expertise
Mr. Safar Mohammad Khan has more than 5 years experience in the field of Environment protection & Safety Systems viz;
bioremediation technology/Smart Sponge, Oeliophylic polymer technology to combat oil pollution/hydrocarbon pollution
for offshore/onshore regions. He is well associated with vapour control & recovery systems (VRU) with Symex America,
USA for controlling the vapour losses from IFRT/EFRT and fixed roof tanks & loading arms for VOCs’.
He is concentrating on Microbial-Biotechnological innovative technologies to combat Oil /hydrocarbon pollution &
bioremedial treatment of refinery sludge/ETP chemical sludge etc. He headed ‘Tar Ball Case 'of Goa, & Mumbai Oil Spill, in
Mr. Khan received his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from MotiLal Nehru Institute of Research & Business
Administration (MONIRBA), University of Allahabad in 2006.
His excerpt on oil spill in mangroves” Scientific planning against the oil pollution” has been selected for publication in
Ecological Society for America, USA.