No major pollution incidents of 2,000 cubic meters or more occurred during that period. The largest incident occurred in Raša Bay in Istria in June 2018 when about eight cubic meters of fuel leaked into the sea from a cargo ship sailing under the Lebanese flag.
The largest pollution prevention effort was undertaken in June 2018 when the Turkish ship Haksa, carrying magnesite, nearly sank in the waters off Split after the water penetrated the engine room. A diver managed to weld the crack up, and the vessel was tugged to the Trogir shipyard.
Pollution incident response management, which falls within the Ministry of the Sea’s authority, Transport and Infrastructure, was assessed as partly efficient. The State Audit Office said that Croatia does not have sufficient equipment to prevent major pollution incidents. No company or state institution is conducting an accredited training program, and the register of certified companies for emergency response is not updated.
The report says that the government’s necessary equipment and vessels should be provided and that the Ministry should develop the response management system in cooperation with the Defence Ministry to ensure that the system is as effective as possible.
The Office noted that the Adriatic Sea is mostly enclosed and, as such, environmentally highly vulnerable. Economic activity in it is growing steadily, which leads to increased shipping traffic.
The number of ships carrying hazardous and noxious substances rose from 1,259 in 2017 to 2,118 in 2019, while the number of passengers transported from Croatian ports increased from 37.8 million in 2017 to 42.8 million in 2019.
Increased traffic brings a greater risk of pollution of the marine environment because of accidents at sea, the release of polluted waters, and industrial waste disposal. According to the report, exploration and exploitation of the seabed and subsoil also increase the risk to the marine environport.
Potential large-scale pollution incidents in the Adriatic Sea can result in major economic and environmental disasters for Croatia, the State Audit Office warned.
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