The number of accidental oil spills affecting the Atlantic coast of Europe in the last decades has led to a growing concern regarding oil spill preparedness and response, and has motivated the development and implementation of different tools to be used in these emergency situations. Close to shore, most damage occurs in sheltered bays and inlets, where oil is concentrated.
In the last years different national and internationals administrations have promoted environmental directives aimed to protect these aquatic ecosystems (e.g. Water Framework Directive (2000/60/CE); Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD)).
To fulfil the legislation and to prevent, prepare for, and respond to oil spills, two different approaches exist: planning tools to promote an integrated and sustainable oil spill response capability in the regions, and operational oceanography systems WHICH provide real-time forecast of oceanographic variables and oil spill trajectories, both of which are key elements in oil spill forecasting.