According to JLMD Ecologic Group, oil spills resulting from collisions, grounded vessels, or hull breakage represent 77% of the pollution risks. The prevention of or reduction of oil spillage after a marine incident is crucial if environmental damage is to be avoided. According to the company, JLMD oil recovery system greatly improves salvors’ ability to quickly remove oil remaining on board after a casualty, enabling the recovery of 70 to 90% of the hazardous liquid cargo. The JLMD system has been nominated as finalist for the Lloyd’s List Award for Innovation and the Sea-Trade Award.
The JLMD system is preinstalled on tankers or retrofitted in cargo and/or bunker tanks, and allows a fast recovery of the oil trapped in the wreck. Oil leaks and spills are consequently limited. The pre-installation (prevention aspect) of the system enables the salvage company to start recovering the oil immediately in case of casualty without wasting time drilling the hull and mounting valves. As soon as the flexible extraction hose is connected to the system, the recovery process can start.
Each tank of the ship is independently equipped with a recovery system set made of five connectors. The recovery system sets can work separately. Thus if the ship is broken in two parts (case of the Erika) or if a tank is ripped open, the functioning of the equipment for the other tanks is not adversely affected. This gives also the possibility to recover oil from several tanks at the same time, speeding up the removal process. The system allows a highest and lowest point to be established no matter what the position of the wreck. Once connected to the salvage vessel (by diver/ROV), sea water is pumped by hydrostatic pressure to the lowest point. The lighter density oil or chemicals are naturally forced up towards the highest point without the use of a pump.
As it is no longer necessary to breach the hull of the submerged vessel, the oil recovery operation can start immediately, thereby considerably reducing pollution. In the case of the "Prestige" over 140 tons leaked daily for three months, representing 50 kms of oil slicks, every 24 hrs. It took ten months to recover the heavy oil trapped into the Erika wreck. According to the company estimates it would have taken two to three weeks to complete the operation, in the same conditions, if the vessel had been equipped with the JLMD system. The first installation took place in September 2004 on a Suezmax tanker at Daewoo.