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Notification On Saturday June 23 2018 the tanker Bow Jubail owned by the Norwegian shipping company Odfjell hit a scaffolding in the Port of Rotterdam. 200 Tonnes of oil spilled into the harbour. Vogelklas Karel Schot, the Rotterdam-based Wildlife Centre were notified that same afternoon. Anticipating hundreds of oiled birds, they immediately notified wildlife response ngo’s SON-RESPONS and Sea Alarm. SON-RESPONS mobilised her national wildlife experts conform SBV protocol. Sea Alarm mobilised international experts according to the EUROWA Standard Operating Procedure. Ecologists of the city of Rotterdam reported that at least a thousand Mute swans were contaminated. Rijkswaterstaat, on Sunday 24th June, gave a green light to it’s contigency plan for oiled wildlife (SBV) and asked EUROWA to design and develop a temporary  facility where all the oiled birds could be rehabilitated or euthanised if necessary. The Maeslantkering at Hoek van Holland was chosen as the location for the facility.

Field The catching of oiled birds started spontaneously on Sunday 24th by the public and responders. The Rotterdam harbour is part of the ecological system of the Netherlands Southwest area. By Sunday evening over 300 oiled swans were  brought to Vogelklas Karel Schot, wildlife centre De Wulp and a temporary forward holding centre in Maassluis. Tuesday 26th the temporary facility was ready to receive the first groups of swans from the forward holding centre in Maassluis, followed by the swans from Karel Schot. The catching of the remaining oiled swans required boats with crew, which became an operational exercise in itself.  By July 4th rouhghly 500 swans were housed in the temporary facility. Through regular monitoring by ecologists it has become clear that contaminated swans are continously migrating to and from areas in the region. Unoiled animals are migrating into the contaminated area as well.

Facility Friday 29th the washing section within the facility and a set of outside pools became operational and the first swans were washed and put on pools. In the course of the following  days over 200 swans were washed. Extra pools were built starting July 5th.

Medical procedure In the facility the EUROWA protocol is used to assess and treat all oiled wildlife that are brought to the facility.  When brought in, every swan is registered at reception and given a temporary ring. They subsequently are medically examined at intake and  stabilised for 48 hours.  Blood samples will indicate if they are ready to be washed. The washing-  and rinsingprocess takes about an hour per swan by experienced staff.  Drying takes place in the drying pens, in a clean restricted area. When dry the birds go to the pools where they spend time under supervision until their feathers look waterproof. Bloodsamples will indicate if they are ready for release. The temporary ring is then replaced by an official ring. Release areas have been selected, where other groups of mute swans are present and with enough food available.

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