Issued March 24 2010

The International Salvage Union (ISU) today announced the results of its annual Pollution Prevention Survey for 2009. The results show a significant increase in the tonnages of pollutants salved in 2009 compared with 2008, despite a drop in the number of salvage services performed by members of the ISU.

The total of all pollutants salved for 2009 increased to 1,022,730 tonnes compared with 2008’s total of 667,497 tonnes. It is a rise of 53% and pushes the average annual figure over the past 15 years to over a million tonnes per year.

In 2009, quantities of pollutants salved were up in all categories. However the number of services performed was 244, 5% down on the figure of 256 for 2008.

The main change from 2008 was in regard to the quantity of crude oil salved which rose by 61.5% to 743,506 tonnes in 2009. This is accounted for by salvage services provided by ISU members to two large tankers.

The category of “other pollutants” also showed a significant rise of 57% from 40,030 tonnes in 2008 to 62,853 tonnes in 2009.

2009 Pollution Prevention Results




% variation

Number of services




Crude oil salved




Bunker fuel salved




Chemicals salved




Other pollutants








All figures in tonnes

The Lloyd’s Open Form salvage contract was used in 56 services, there were 11 wreck removals, 39 Japanese form contracts, seven other forms of salvage contract were used and 131 services were carried out on a daily rate or fixed price basis. A total of 18 casualties needed to be lightened of the pollutants by ship to ship transfer.

Commenting on the results, ISU President, Todd Busch, said: “These numbers demonstrate clearly how our members’ work helps to prevent serious and damaging marine pollution. They also show how variable the work is from year to year with a drop in the number of services performed but a large rise in the amount of pollution prevented. And they show how intervention in a small number of cases involving large amounts of, typically, crude oil, can affect the numbers.

“It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to see that the commitment and efforts of our members and their continued investment in tugs and equipment makes such a worthwhile contribution to protecting the marine environment around the world.”

The ISU’s Pollution Prevention Survey began in 1994. In the 15 years to end-2009, ISU salvors have recovered 15,976,297 tonnes of potential pollutants, an average of over million tonnes per year. This consists of 12,418,000 tonnes of crude oil (and diesel oil); 977,363 tonnes of chemicals; 1,192,009 tonnes of bunker fuel and 1,388,909 tonnes of “other pollutants” (recorded as a separate category for the first time in 1997.)

Notes to editors
See attached graphics: ISU Recovery of Pollutants by Marine Salvors 2009

For further information contact:
James Herbert, Communications adviser, ISU:  +44 (0)7979 855126