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Consensus Building in Oil Spill Response Planning Using a Fuzzy Comprehensive Evaluation

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Major accidental oil spills still affect ecologically and economically sensitive marine areas and shorelines, even though environmental programs and policies have led to an increase of ship safety measures. The aim of decision making during oil spill response management is to minimize pollution effects on coastal areas, once spills occur. However, limited equipments or options prevent such a globally satisfying combat strategy. Thus, often preferences between different coastal areas or uses, respectively, have to be made in an operational way. Such a management issue is here taken as a multigroup multicriteria decision-making problem involving a variety of stakeholders and natural dynamic environments. For solving such a complex problem, this article proposes a second order fuzzy comprehensive evaluation (FCE) model, which takes the influence of multiple criteria and the knowledge of different interested groups into account and further provides a basis for simulating a voting-based decision process. With the combination of oil fate simulations and FCE technique, managers are able to realize an integrated management for oil spill. Through a case study of the Prestige accident off the Spanish coast in 2002, it is demonstrated that the model provides a simple, effective and adaptable method to solve operational management problems related to complex human nature interactions as realized during oil spill management. Moreover, a series of analyses and comparisons are focused on to explore potentials and limitations of the FCE for further applications in the field of multigroup multicriteria decision making.
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Keywords: decision making; fuzzy set; participatory process; prestige disaster; voting system

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: ICBM, Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany 2: Institute for Coastal Research, Geesthacht, Germany

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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