Coastal Vulnerability for Ship-Source Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Planning in Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia [graduate project].
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Ship-source oil spills are amongst the major sources of oil affecting coastal areas. An end-to-end marine oil spill analysis may provide a model to better allocate response resources or prepare contingency plans for highly vulnerable zones. A consequence assessment, a key aspect of this type of analysis which considers economic, social and environmental aspects of a geographic area, is presented in this study as a GIS index tool, which can be applied in the context of Atlantic Canada. A theoretical framework and conceptual model is developed based on a literature review of oil spill state-of-the-art analysis using Exploratory Network Analysis; and tested on a realistic case study (Halifax Harbour, NS). The novel approach for reviewing the literature provided sound criteria for the conceptual model, which fits the end-to-end marine oil spill analysis, segregating elements regarding exposure and oil behaviour. Furthermore, oil spill management indicators were tailored using expertise from Atlantic Canada’s oil spill responders, and many gaps were identified to potentially refine the model later. Finally, this model considers the range of aspects that influence the consequences of a ship-based oil spill, using readily available information and considering relevant stakeholder’s interests.