DIFIS - Double Inverted Funnel for the Intervention on Ship wrecks
Background and Introduction
Maritime disasters leading to major environmental pollution occur regularly every few years. Examples are AMOCO-CADIZ in 1978, TANIO in 1980, AEGEAN SEA in 1992, ERIKA in 1999 and PRESTIGE in 2002.

The PRESTIGE case has shown that a lack of tools, systems and methodologies exists for the prompt intervention on ship wrecks, necessary to confine the pollution and eliminate the source of the pollution threat.

Project Scope and Objectives
The scope of the DIFIS project is the study, design and validation of an EU reference method for the prompt and cost-effective intervention on ship wrecks. The developed system should be able to deal with oil leaking from wrecks even in very large water depths. The proposed method will be of general applicability as long the trapped pollutant does not dissolve and is of lower density than sea water.



Schematical Representation <br>of the DIFIS System Schematical Representation
of the DIFIS System
The DIFIS System
The DIFIS system will be a light and quickly deployable flexible structure that should stay in place until all the tanks of the wreck are emptied and the pollution threat is eliminated.

The main items in the DIFIS system are the dome, the riser tube and the buffer bell. Fuel leaking from the wreck is captured in the dome and flows up towards the surface through the riser tube. The fuel-water mixture is collected in the buffer bell, which is located 30-50 m below the sea surface, where it is not affected by rough weather. The buffer bell is provided with standard offshore loading equipment.

With the DIFIS system spreading of the pollutants in the sea is prevented and neither will they reach the sea surface, where their recovery could be affected by the weather conditions. Instead, a shuttle tanker is used for periodical offloading of the collected fuel and transport to shore.







DIFIS Model Test Set-up</br> in MARIN's Offshore Basin DIFIS Model Test Set-up
in MARIN's Offshore Basin
Project Approach
The DIFIS project is carried out by a consortium of 8 participants, each with their own field of expertise. MARIN is project coordinator. The project participants are :

The total budget of the DIFIS project is 3.2 M€, of which 1.8 M€ is funded by the EC. The scope of work includes numerical simulations, hydrodynamic scale model tests and deployment simulations, as well as an analysis of the system cost and planning.



Besides the above participants, the European Commission's JRC (Joint Research Centre) is involved as a scientific and technical advisor to the DIFIS project. In this respect Dr. Fivos Andritsos of JRC should be mentioned, since he had the original idea for the system concept and was the originator of the DIFIS project.

Schedule
The project started in September 2005. The project was completed end of May 2010 (total duration 45 months).

DIFIS publications
The following conference papers on the DIFIS concept were published :

DIFIS Concept for the Removal of Oil from Ship Wrecks - Hydrodynamic Scale Model Tests for Operational, Survival and Offloading Conditions and System Deployment
Hans Cozijn (MARIN), ISOPE Conference, Beijing, 2010

Recovery of Oil Trapped in Ship-Wrecks: the DIFIS Concept
J.L. Cozijn (MARIN Maritime Research Institute Netherlands), F.Andritsos (European Commission - Joint Research Center), P.A. Konstantinopoulos, et al., International Oil Spill Conference IOSC, Savanah, 2008

Video
The independent non-profit media agency YOURIS.com produced the following video on DIFIS.
DIFIS : a deep water innovative solution to fight oil spills

Contact
For more information, please contact :

Ir. Hans Cozijn
MARIN Offshore Department
DIFIS Project Coordinator
+31 - 317 - 493 272
J.L.Cozijn@MARIN.nl

Otherwise visit the project web-site at www.difis.eu, or download the DIFIS Project Leaflet.

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