The HELCOM-led OpenRisk project recently published its "OpenRisk Guideline for Regional Risk Management to Improve European Pollution Preparedness and Response at Sea", providing guidelines and methods for maritime risk management.

Primarily aimed at national and regional authorities handling response to maritime incidents, the report intends to increase the risk management component in pollution preparedness processes, based on the ISO 31000:2018 International Standard on Risk Management.

The report contains a toolbox of several risk assessment methods, outlining their aims and use, implementation basis, required inputs and obtained outputs, and how they work in practice. All of the described tools are open-access.

"We don't want another Erika or Prestige. For an effective response to maritime incidents, we also need to include risk management," said Valtteri Laine, the OpenRisk project leader, adding that a better understanding of risk helps to mitigate uncertainties and lead to better preparedness. 

"The OpenRisk guideline toolbox should make it easier to select the most adequate method and tool for assessing specific risks," he said.

The OpenRisk project – a two year EU-funded project on methods for maritime risk assessments – aims at strengthening regional preparedness to accidental spills. 

Through promoting open-source standards, it seeks to address the high costs of implementing regional risk assessments, and to improve comparability of risk assessments across countries and regions. 

OpenRisk is led by HELCOM, partnering with the World Maritime University(WMU), the Netherlands-based non-profit maritime research institution Marin, and the Finnish Environmental Institute(SYKE).

The project is also supported by the Bonn Agreement(North Sea), the Copenhagen Agreement(Nordic seas), REMPEC(Mediterranean), as well as the Norwegian Coastal Administration.