Hazardous and Noxious Substances Spill Incidents

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On this database it is collected information on the fate and weathering of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) accidentally spilt at the sea around the world. It gathers and systematizes existing information to assist stakeholders involved in spill preparedness and response, and builds return of experience datasheets for the chemicals involved. It will facilitate the incorporation of lessons from past incidents on the decision process to improve preparedness.

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HNS Spilt

Palm nut kernel oilLiquid


Amount Spilt (T)900

CAS Number-


Physical Behaviour (SEBC code)


Pollution Category (MARPOL Annex 2)


Class according to IMDG code


Subsidiary Risk Class according to IMDG code

Classification as Marine Pollutant

ii, iii

HNS Classification (2010 HNS Convention)

Fate and weathering facts observed/reported

The oil solidified almost instantaneously at seawater temperature forming a slick measuring 800 by 400 metres. Testing showed that the oil dispersed naturally in water column in very small particles only a few millimetres in diameter. The slick continued to spread and turned into an immense slick, 20 km long by 4 km wide. The drift of this solid vegetable oil was followed by aerial observations and samples were collected in order to analyse its chemical evolution. Computer modelling predictions designed for oil spills did not appear to be suited to deal with this vegetable oil, due to its solid state. These non-petroleum drifting oils can mix with floating material to sink or form a crust. The slick came ashore where it beached at high water mark. Twenty six tonnes of solid pellets were collected from the beaches by hand. The spill was made up of 5 to 50 cm diameter margarine-like rubbery balls with a spongy yellow core and a whitish crust. On the whole, 870 T of oil disappeared, which was explained by its high natural dispersion rate in the water column, constituting a source of natural lipids to the marine flora and fauna, bacterial degradation, physical and chemical degradation. Palm nut oil is likely to produce alkanes, esters, aldehydes and alcohols, some of which harmful to marine life. Laboratory studies highlighted that marine bacteria preferentially break down polyunsaturated fatty acids, while kinetics of degradation of monounsaturated is slower. Shorter chain saturated fatty acids were degraded first than longer chain ones. The coating properties of vegetable oils act as crude oils to affect sea life, tourism and yachting. 12 T were recovered from the coast.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)