EU flagHNS-MS has been funded by DG-ECHO under agreement ECHO/SUB/2014/693705

Improving Member States preparedness to face an HNS pollution of the Marine System (HNS-MS)

· Tasks and methods ·

Environmental and socio-economic vulnerabilities

Vulnerability maps provide a summary of coastal resources that are at risk if a spill occurs nearby and can help authorities and responders to reduce the environmental consequences of the spill and the cleanup efforts. Additionally these maps can be used, before a spill happens, to identify vulnerable locations, establish protection priorities, and identify cleanup strategies.

Information and maps about coastal shoreline sensitivity, biological resources, and human resources are used for more than 30 years in Europe and worldwide, being first developed by NOAA in 1979 (ESI), to evaluate vulnerability to oil spill.

In the frame of HNS-MS project, the aim will be to determine and prioritize the relevant information to be featured on maps, taking into account:

  • the specificities of HNS such as the reactivity of the product (reactivity with air, water…), the need to protect the population against a toxic gas cloud (and related risk for coastal populations), and other behaviour parameters which will be highlighted previously in the project, to adapt the parameters,
  • the methodology already applied in the Bonn Agreement Region, in the risk assessment project BE-AWARE and in in the framework of national contingency planning in Belgium and France.

Geographic information system (GIS) techniques had improved the presentation of maps with ranked data on biological and human resources. The purpose of this task, first step towards a region-wide GIS-based response support map, is to develop a demonstrator response support map at regional level for the Belgian and French coasts (North sea and Channel), and at a more detailed scale for selected areas.

  About the project

HNS-MS is a decision-support tool that Belgian and French maritime authorities as well as coastguard stations can activate in order to forecast the drift, fate and behavior of acute marine pollution by Harmful Noxious Substances (HNS) accidentally released in the marine system.

  Contact us


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EU flagHNS-MS has been funded by DG-ECHO under agreement ECHO/SUB/2014/693705 and runs from 1 January 2015 to 31 March 2017.