RPS was commissioned to conduct a marine Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) including the associated chemical analysis from the site of the wrecked oil tanker, the RFA Darkdale, that was sunk in the South Atlantic during the Second World War.

The wreck site contained approximately 3,000 tons of fuel oil and 850 tons of aviation fuel. After a large oil leak in 2010, further understanding was needed of the condition of the wreck and the extent of the oil leak.

RPS carried out a desktop baseline study which provided background information of the problem, together with a field survey of the site and surrounding areas. This field survey involved the collection of information about the wreck site conditions and samples were obtained for analysis at RPS’ laboratory in Hertfordshire.

RPS carried out hydrocarbon content analysis on water, sediment, benthic ecology and fish samples The results of these analyses were used to conduct an eco-toxicological assessment, benthic fauna analysis and socio-economic study. The analytical data was further used to complete a computational oil spill model to evaluate the potential risk posed by the remaining oil.