Development of a protocol for risk assessment of potentially polluting shipwrecks in Scandinavian waters
Research Project , 2009 – 2013

Along the Swedish coast there are approximately 700 potentially polluting ship wrecks, which may pose severe environmental threats
as they may contain large amounts of oil that will eventually leak out into the marine environment as the wrecks break down. Today
there are remediation technologies available to empty wrecks that contain oil, but the procedure is extremely costly. As there are no
liable owners, the society will most likely have to pay for any costs concerning these wrecks. To minimize the socioeconomic costs
related to any potential scenario of potentially polluting wrecks, it is of great importance to develop a protocol allowing for robust,
objective risk assessments of the ship wrecks. Beyond providing proof of whether or not a potentially polluting wreck poses a real
environmental threat, the risk assessment will allow for establishment of a relative order of priority for the wrecks regarding
remediation. Traditionally the estimated cost of the potential environmental impact from the potentially polluting wrecks if no
measures are taken are based on scenarios of sudden major leaks, whereas potential costs from long-term slow leakage are neglected. The proposed project aims at investigating ecotoxicological effects of long-term slow leakage and thereby provides a platform for future economic evaluations of the socioeconomic costs in terms of ecosystem service losses. The project will be based on two in-situ studies of the wrecks S/S Skytteren and S/S Westfalen.


Ida-Maja Hassellöv (contact)

Professor at Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Maritime Studies, Maritime Environmental Sciences

Greg Morrison

Professor at Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Water Environment Technology

Lars Rosen

Full Professor at Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, GeoEngineering


University of Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden



Project ID: 2008-1510
Funding Chalmers participation during 2009–2013

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable development

Driving Forces

Basic sciences


Innovation and entrepreneurship

Driving Forces

More information

Latest update