Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Maritime Affairs


Malmö, Sweden



First Advisor

Lindén, Olof.

Second Advisor

Hildebrand, Lawrence


This dissertation has analysed the Swedish oil spill preparedness between 2010 and 2015 by examining management, prevention, planning and response, and compared it to international practices. The study is based on analysis of available data, surveys administered to the coastal County Administrative Boards and municipalities, and interviews with the national oil spill experts.

Oil spills can cause significant acute damage to the environment. Sweden has a long coastline with intense shipping traffic. This suggests a high risk of a large oil spill occurring, but no oil spill over 1,200 tonnes has affected the Swedish territorial waters or Exclusive Economic Zone.

The findings show that the Swedish Coast Guard, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, the Oil Spill Depots, the Swedish Agency for Water and Marine Management, and the Oil Spill Advisory Service are central organisations to national oil spill preparedness. All relevant international conventions have been ratified and implemented, excepting the OPRC Convention requirement to have a National Contingency Plan for oil spills. Oil spill contingency plans exist in 79% of the coastal municipalities. However, only 60% of the coastal municipalities have conducted oil spill exercises within the last 5 years. Requirements to follow up evaluation recommendations were only present in 18% of the 11 real spill and exercises analysed. It is concluded, that in some respects, the structures of Swedish preparedness to handle the impact of a major oil spill somewhere on its coastline could prove to be inadequate. Despite this, Swedish oil spill preparedness is shown to be equivalent to most neighbouring countries.

This dissertation establishes the strengths and weaknesses of the Swedish oil spill preparedness regime and calls for further development. The benefits of maintaining and improving the current level of preparedness far outweigh the effort, but will only be evident when a large oil spill occurs.


Examiners: William Ritchie and Christer Larsson

Recommended Citation

Pålsson, J. (2016). Oil spill preparedness in Sweden: prevention, planning, and response for large accidents (Ph.D). World Maritime University.