Science of The Total Environment
Oil pollution in the Mediterranean represents a serious threat to the coastal environment. Quantifying the risks associated with a potential spill is often based on results generated from oil spill models. In this study, MEDSLIK-II, an EU funded and endorsed oil spill model, is used to assess potential oil spill scenarios at four pilot areas located along the northern, eastern, and southern Mediterranean shoreline, providing a wide range of spill conditions and coastal geomorphological characteristics. Oil spill risk assessment at the four pilot areas was quantified as a function of three oil pollution metrics that include the susceptibility of oiling per beach segment, the average volume of oiling expected in the event of beaching, and the average oil beaching time. The results show that while the three pollution metrics tend to agree in their hazard characterization when the shoreline morphology is simple, considerable differences in the quantification of the associated hazard is possible under complex coastal morphologies. These differences proved to greatly alter the evaluation of environmental risks. An integrative hazard index is proposed that encompasses the three simulated pollution metrics. The index promises to shed light on oil spill hazards that can be universally applied across the Mediterranean basin by integrating it with the unified oil spill risk assessment tool developed by the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean (REMPEC).