Assessing oil spill sensitivity in unsheltered coastal environments: A case study for Lithuanian-Russian coasts, South-eastern Baltic Sea

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This study presents a series of oil spill indexes for the characterization of physical and biological sensitivity in unsheltered coastal environments. The case study extends over 237 kmof Lithuanian-Russian coastal areas subjected to multiple oil spill threats. Results show that 180 km of shoreline have environmental sensitivity index (ESI) of score 3. Natural clean-up processes depending on (a) shoreline sinuosity, (b) orientation and (c) wave exposure are favourable on 72 km of shoreline. Vulnerability analysis from pre-existing Kravtsovskoye D6 platformoil spill scenarios indicates that 15.1 km of the Curonian Spit have high impact probability. The highest seafloor sensitivity within the 20 m isobath is at the Vistula Spit and Curonian Spit, whereas biological sensitivity is moderate over the entire study area. The paper concludeswith the importance of harmonized datasets andmethodologies for transboundary oil spill impact assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-57
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • Oil spill sensitivity
  • Seafloor sensitivity
  • Vulnerability
  • Baltic Sea

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