Modeling risk of small-scale vessels: Source oil discharges in Canada’s Pacific Coast

Frequent small‐scale oil discharges are the largest source of marine oil pollution resulting from vessel operations. Because of their frequency they are often referred to as chronic oil pollution and they are considered a constant threat to marine and coastal environments. Evidence of illegal spilling of oil in the Pacific Region has been gathered by the National Aeriel Surveillance Program (NASP); primary tool for monitoring and enforcement of pollution regulations within Canadian waters. NASP, constrained logistically, cannot provide a complete picture of the extent of chronic oil pollution; particularly when the area to patrol is extensive and with dense shipping traffic. This research aims to fill this knowledge gap by characterizing a spatial probability model, using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and multivariate statistical approaches, to understand the current distribution of detected oil spills by NASP and generate a spatial risk surface to identify area with the highest relative probability of chronic oil pollution.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Rosaline Canessa


Norma Serra-Sogas


Environment Canada


Geography / Geology / Earth science


Aerospace and defense


University of Victoria



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