HNS-MS project

The HNS-MS website is : http://www.hns-ms.eu

The HNS-MS Project (2015-2016) is a 2-year project on a decision support tool for Harmful and Noxious Substances (HNS). The project partners are Belgium (MUMM/modelling) and France (CEDRE). The project was selected for funding by the EC/DG ECHO under the 2014 call for prevention and preparedness projects in civil protection and marine pollution with a budget of €645 K. HNS-MS follows up the outcomes of the BE-AWARE I HNS risk analysis.

HNS is a major threat for the marine environment. There has been a clear increase in transported volumes over the last two decades with 2,000+ HNS transported in bulk on tankers or package form on ferries. There has been a corresponding increase in operational spills.

HNS cover a wide range of chemical substances that have diverse qualities such as toxicity, flammability and reactivity with other substances. HNS released in the marine environment can behave in different ways, acting as evaporators/gases, sinkers, floaters, dissolvers or a combination of these behaviours.

When dealing with an HNS pollution incident, the priority is to identify the risk posed to the public and to the environment. The primary factors which determine the impact of the released substance(s) relate to their physico-chemical properties and their fate in the environment.

Until now, most studies have focused on classifying the hazard whilst substances released into the marine environment are not well documented. Only a few decision-support tools used by Member State authorities integrate 3D models that are able to simulate the behaviour of HNS spills in the marine environment. Moreover, the HNS information currently available is not of good enough quality to be used as input to an advanced HNS support tool.

The project will address some of these knowledge gaps, including studying the behaviour of the top 100 most commonly carried substances when released in the marine environment and developing a 3D model and decision support tool for HNS. The aim is to have it operational within 2 years.