Maritime, Marine Environmental and Safety Management

A horrifying thought, but it could happen: an oil tanker sinking in the North Sea releasing large amounts of oil into the Wadden area. How do you combat such a disaster? How can we improve the safety of coastal regions and maritime sectors? How can we sail the seas in a sustainable manner?

These important questions are examined by the Maritime, Marine Environmental and Safety Management (MMES) lectorate. The MMES professorship of applied sciencesis an nationally and internationally recognised gateway for government and maritime business sectors looking for professional assistance in resolving issues concerning the Maritime, Marine Environmental and Safety Management.

The professorship increases and disseminates knowledge on all users of the sea, including oil platforms. The sustainable use of the sea, as well as combating disasters at sea, is also investigated in the research. Computer models calculate the ecological and economic consequences of an oil disaster, so that the right choices can be made in the event of a disaster.

Oil Spill Response Course

The Maritime, Marine Environmental and Safety Management professorship offers personnel and organisations working in or collaborating with the oil industry the Oil and Chemical Spill Response at Sea course.

Oil pollution at sea Maritime

How do you combat oil pollution at sea? All the knowledge available on responding to oil spills at sea has been bundled by the Maritime, Marine and Environmental and Safety Management professorship in a manual, which is consulted a great deal online. This reference source is the result of the RAAK-sme research project Oil Spill Response at Sea.

In the course of this research it became clear that companies need more knowledge regarding combating oil pollution at sea.  During the project, there was close collaboration with numerous companies in the shipping sector, the oil industry and safety sector, such as MCR shipping, Hebo Maritiemservice and Advisafe.

Improving safety

If you have a good understanding of how oil behaves in water, this knowledge can help in improving oil spill response methods, equipment and services. In turn, this improves the safety. More knowledge also ensures for better analysis and decision making should oil be inadvertently released into the sea. Using the decision-making model Environmental Economic Benefit Analysis (NEEBA), the impact for man and the environment in the event of an oil spill is kept to a minimum. The Oil Spill Response at Sea manual can be viewed online.

Chemical spill response at sea

What type of chemicals are there and how do they behave in the environment? In what type of ships and packaging are they transported? These are just a few questions examined by the Maritime, Marine Environmental and Safety Management professorship in the RAAK-sme project Chemical Spill Response at Sea. The result is a practical manual.

The research project Chemical Spill Response at Sea was spurred on by the business sector. Businesses knew too little about chemical pollution prevention in order to develop specific measures, procedures and advice. What's more, the knowledge that was available of this area was difficult to access and poorly disseminated.

The Maritime, Marine Environmental and Safety Management professorship therefore bundled all the relevant knowledge into the research project and answered all sorts of questions in further research. A sub-study, for example, developed a method for storing containers in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner, and explored the possibilities of an unmanned inspection vessel.

Collaboration Kop

The project was carried out in close collaboration with the business sector. MCR Shipping, for example, investigated the classification and safety requirements of ships involved in combating chemical accidents. Statistics on accidents, type of transport, type of chemicals, legislation and regulations and much more can be found in the Chemical Spill Response Manual. The manual can be viewed online.

OILS (Oil In Littoral Substrates)


The Wadden Sea is one of our most vital of regions. Shipping companies, fishermen and tourists, as well as plants and animals, all make use of the Wadden Sea. With the OILS project, the Maritime, Marine Environmental & Safety Management professorship describes the effects of a possible oil spill.

We all know the Wadden Sea. And because so many people use the Wadden Sea, it is a very vulnerable area. It is horrifying to imagine what would happen if there were an oil spill in the Wadden Sea. But if this did ever happen, it is essential to immediately take the correct decisions and actions to protect the most vulnerable areas. That is why we, together NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences and the Waddenvereniging (Wadden Sea Association), have outlined the effects of a possible oil spill in the Wadden Sea.

The severity of a possible oil spill

An oil spill in the Wadden Sea would require a specific approach where account has to be taken of various factors. One would have to consider the tides, ecological aspects, as well as economic factors. What's more, the way in which this can be combated differs according to the area affected. Is the oil spill in an area with firm sandbanks where the oil is relatively easy to remove, or in an area of soft mud flats which are much harder to clean up? The aim of the OILS project is to identify the total severity of a possible oil spill.

Measurements from the field are crucial for this. On the research vessel of the Willem Barentsz Maritime Institute, Ocean Technology students measure the flow rates in the Wadden area. And Chemical Technology students research in the lab how oil behaves in the currents around mudflats. Many students are also involved from the other participating universities of applied sciences. This collaboration with education institutes ensures for an optimum result, whereby research and education flow into one another.

With whom do we collaborate?

The Maritime, Marine Environmental and Safety Management professorship works actively with government authorities and the maritime business sector. Together with the work field, we look for professional support in resolving issues in the area of disasters.

A large number of parties work together within the knowledge cluster. We support these with practical issues. And the same applies the other way around. From a large number of partners, we receive knowledge and information that is necessary when carrying out research. In this way, research, education and the work field can be integrated seamlessly with one another.

Our partners

  • Spill Response Group Holland
  • Maritime Campus Netherlands (MCN)
  • VHL University of Applied Sciences
  • Ministry of Waterways and Public Works
  • C-Image consortium
  • Koseq
  • HEBO Maritime Service
  • IMARES Wageningen
  • Deltares
  • Waddenvereniging (Wadden Sea Association)
  • BDS Harlingen
  • Hanze Wetlands


At the Maritime, Marine Environmental and Safety Management lectorate, researchers work with students and external knowledge institutes on addressing issues from the field. Collaboration between education, researchers and the work field is essential in dealing with these issues.

These studies and projects are carried out in the form of projects. Students, lecturers, researchers, partners and knowledge institutes work closely together in such project groups.


NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz