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The latest figures from the 2004 annual survey of Reported Discharges Attributed to Vessels and Offshore Oil and Gas Installations Operating in the UK Pollution Control Zone shows an overall increase of 13.5% in reported discharges on the previous year.

This is explained by the adoption of a more pro-active approach to reporting more minor spills by the offshore industry. The total volume of oil and gas accidentally discharged into the sea actually fell by 30% when compared to the previous year.

Toby Stone, Head of MCA’s Counter Pollution and Response Branch said: “The results of this survey show a continued overall decrease in volumes of discharges into the seas around the UK. This takes into account the new and more stringent reporting procedures adopted by the DTI and offshore industry.”

During 2004 there were 10 successful oil pollution prosecutions. Discharges have continued to decline from vessels at an average rate of 15% per year since 2000.

David Hopkins

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