The minute we become an integrated whole, we look through the same eyes
and we see a whole different world together.
~ Azizah Al-Hibri
What is Tier 0 (zero) Response
Tier 0 is a concept developed by RESTCo related to rapid and effective oil spill response
which can deal with small spills (the most common) without additional support, and also be the
first-on-scene response and recovery tool-set in the face of larger spills where additional
resources would be beneficial.
Tier 0 recognizes that local residents will be the first responders, whether they are
properly equipped and trained or not. It is their community and possibly livelihood which is
directly impacted. This has been proven time and again, such as the 2021 MV Wakashio spill
off the coast of Mauritius, or being first on scene at the sinking of the Nathan E. Stewart
tugboat sinking on the Canadian west coast. RESTCo is adamant that local communities need to be engaged in
planning for spill response, equipped and trained appropriately, and part of the spill response
efforts if and when a formal incident commander is on scene and effective.
The vertical menu bar to the right provides links to documents and presentations RESTCo
has written and delivered related to Tier 0.
Oil spilled on water spreads quickly, so efficient and effective recovery of the spilled oil requires that
effective equipment be on-scene and operating within a couple of hours to minimize the amount
of oil reaching shore and impacts on local life and the environment. The current regime of spill
response by industry and government, with their hierarchical Tier 1 to Tier 3 (or Tier 4 per
Transport Canada system) do not embrace this rapid response paradigm.
Because placing the conventional solutions in all communities and high-risk spill locations
would be expensive, RESTCo proposes the use of multi-functional boats which can operate in a
'day-job' role (not dedicated to spill response), but can be reconfigured to recover spilled
oil in under an hour, and equip the community or local small business operators with innovative,
proven tools for spill recovery and remediation. Communities would select the tools they want
for their own spill response portfolio.
RESTCo, we know some of these innovative tools. We have spent years seeking them
out, researching them, testing them and evaluating them. From this experience, we have developed a set of
criteria which we use to determine if an oil spill response tool is acceptable.
1. The product is effective at removing oil from the environment
2. Recovered oil is stored in air-tight containment to stop evaporation of volatiles,
stop the weathering process and retain value of the recovered oil
3. The product can be deployed quickly to the spill scene (the fire department model)
4. The product minimizes exposure of responders to the oil
5. The product does not increase the level of damage to the environment and human health, short
term and long term
6. The product does not convert one environmental problem (spilled oil) into another (air
pollution, pollution of the water column and water bottom, large quantities of toxic waste
which has to be disposed of at special sites)
7. The product is cost-effective compared to current practice - including the cost to the environment
8. The product contributes to the full remediation of the contaminated site(s)
Better still if the product can recover the spilled product before it weathers and the recovered product
can be used subsequently.
RESTCo subscribes to the IDROS philosophy of spill clean-up: Immediate, Definitive Recovery of Oil Spills.
RESTCo has gathered together a suite of oil spill response products which live up to the criteria noted
above, and which can address the range of spill scenarios (terrain type or on water, spill progression,
product types, climate conditions, etc.) We call our approach FAST: Full-suite Advanced Spill Technologies.
The FAST suite includes:
• pre-spill planning including environmental snap shots, identification of vulnerable and critical locations,
lists of stakeholders, their roles and contact information within and outside 'business hours'
• innovative gravity skimmers which do not require booms, can operate during inclement weather and at night,
and which pick up over 90% of the oil in a single pass, with minimal water by-catch
• re-usable adsorbent fabric which picks up hydrocarbons, but not water, and can be mechanically squeezed
to extract oil, then returned to service (US EPA listed)
• a bio-remediant which can be sprayed onto new or old spills, rendering the oil non-toxic virtually instantly,
and reducing the remaining hydrocarbons to water and carbon dioxide in days to weeks (US EPA listed)
• a polymer powder appropriate for clean up of small, contained spills, creating plastic mats which render
the oil non-toxic and can be recycled into plastic products (US EPA listed)
• hydrocarbon sensors (test equipment) to determine when spill clean-up is complete
• training for first responders on use of the equipment and materials, and,
• pre-deployment of equipment and material, including with first responders.