In Finland occurs around 2000 oil spills every year. In most cases a small amount of oil is discharged on land area. The duty officer of Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) will be informed of all pollution incidents at open sea and major environmental damages on the land area. About 100 cases are reported to SYKE duty officer annually, of which about half relates to marine pollution or the danger thereof.
Finland implements the "Polluter-Pays Principle" i.e. the polluter is liable to pay the response costs and damages. When the source of the incident is unknown or the culpable party is unable to pay the compensation, the Finnish Oil Pollution Compensation Fund can cover the costs for oil pollution response. The Finnish Oil Pollution Compensation Fund is financed by collecting oil protection fee for oil which is either imported or transferred through Finland.
Reporting of environmental damages
When an pollution incident or it’s danger is observed at sea, the report must be given to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC/MRSC), to the emergency response centre or to the VTS Centre. These will forward the report to the duty officer of Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and to the Regional rescue service.
Pollution incidents on land area on or at inland waters must be reported to the emergency response center, which will forward the report to the Regional rescue service and if necessary, also to the duty officer of Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).
Responsibilities in pollution response
The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for general guidance and monitoring concerning prevention of and response to oil spills and chemical spills from ships, and for the development of oil and chemical spill prevention and response.
SYKE is responsible for the prevention of and response to oil spills from ships and shall appoint the head of oil spill response if an oil spill has occurred or is at risk of occurring in Finnish waters, either in the high seas or within Finland’s exclusive economic zone. SYKE is responsible for prevention and response and shall appoint the head of chemical spill response if a chemical spill from a ship has occurred, or there is a risk thereof, in Finnish waters or in Finland’s exclusive economic zone.SYKE is also responsible for attaining and maintaining adequate national preparedness for oil and chemical spills from ships.
Regional rescue services are responsible for the prevention of and response to land-based oil spills and oil spills from ships within their area. If the pollution incident is widespread or if other special circumstances so dictate, the Finnish Environment Institute may assume responsibility for the response.