Traditionally, the most common way to contain and control a spill is by using an oil boom. Oil booms are bulky and made of heavy materials making them difficult to store at sea or at water entry points such as marinas, and therefore they can only be transported to the site after an oil spill is reported. They also require specialized equipment for transport and setup as well as skilled personnel for proper deployment.

Other methods to combat oil spills include the application of chemicals to help the oil mix with water; and burning the spilled oil once it has been collected by a containment boom.

The ROC BarrierTM has been developed out of the critical need for a more advanced method of preventing the devastating ecological and economic effects of oil spills. It is the only available oil containment system compact enough to allow even small watercraft to store and access it easily so that it can be deployed rapidly following an oil spill.

Paying the price

The United States requires the responsible party to pay for all of the clean-up costs, including marine life rescue. Ships coming into a U.S. port must make arrangements with both a spill control company and an oiled marine life response firm.

While Canada doesn’t require companies to pay for the cost of saving marine life except in the narrow case of species at risk, Ontario is taking steps to help reduce the number of spills. In June 2005, the Ontario government passed Bill 133,Environmental Enforcement Statute Law Amendment Act, to help protect the environment by encouraging companies to take action to prevent oil spills. The Bill allows the Ministry of the Environment to impose environmental penalties on companies responsible for spills.