The Korea Coast Guard (KCG) announced that a research paper titled "Oil spill fingerprint of low sulfur fuel oil in South Korea" was published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, a SCI*-grade journal in the field of maritime affairs.
*SCI: Science Citation Index
The KCG Research Center specialized in detecting and analyzing oil spills said that the paper on oil spill fingerprint was published in the globally-renowned journal for the first time in the world. The oil fingerprint was found at a low sulfur fuel oil (LSFO) spill accident that occurred in South Korea in December 2019.
The analysis revealed unique chemical properties of low-sulfur oil and proved the similarity between oil leaked from vessels using low-sulfur oil and spilled oil by using European Standard Analysis methods. On top of that, the study also served as an opportunity to introduce to the world KCG's investigative capabilities in fingerprinting and source identification of oil spills.
Meanwhile, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulation on the sulphur content of marine fuel oil, which mandates the global limit of 0.5% sulphur in ships' fuel oil, has been in effect since 1 January 2020, leading to an increase in the use of low-sulfur oil. However, there has been a lack of research in this field. Against this backdrop, the KCG has been trying to take lead in the research field on low-sulfur fuel oil since 2020.
KCG Commissioner General Kim Hong Hee said that "We will do our best to increase our ability to detect various types of oil spills and respond to the rapidly changing marine environment based on our research."