Oil spill preparedness are measures that can detect, stop, remove and limit the impact of an oil spill into the ocean. The purpose is to ensure efficient management of oil spills and prevent and limit environmental damage.

An oil spill can have major negative consequences for the marine environment. It can cause acute damage to seabirds, beaches, marine mammals and fish. The extent of the consequences will vary based on several conditions, such as size, type of oil product, weather conditions and the vulnerability of the environment.

The largest oil spills from ships in Norwegian waters recently are the pollution that arose after the cargo ship MS Full City ran aground outside Langesund in 2009, and spills from the frigate KNM Helge Ingstad in Hjeltefjorden in 2018. An international example of a major oil spill that has caused negative environmental impacts is the discharge of 33,000 tonnes of crude oil from the tanker Exxon Valdez in Alaska in 1989. The ecological consequences were enormous, and the situation is still critical for some species.