Some of the definitions provided below are specific to the chemical or shipping industry and may have different meanings in everyday language.

Acid: a substance that yields hydrogen ions in water and accelerates the corrosion of metals. When dissolved in water, acids results in a pH of less than 7.

Aircraft: device that is able to fly (plane, helicopter, balloon).

Anemia: decreased concentration of hemoglobin and generally of the number of red blood cells.

Anion: ion carrying one or more negative electric charges.

Aqueous solution: liquid containing several chemical substances and in which water is the major component.

Arrhythmia: disturbance to the heartbeat affecting the frequency, regularity and force of heart contractions.

Atom: fundamental constituent of matter, composed of a nucleus which accounts for 99.9 % of its weight, around which one or more electrons form a cloud.

Bacterial fermentation: set of metabolic processes whereby bacteria use organic molecules in the absence of oxygen and produce alcohol or lactic acid from glucose, or acetic acid* from alcohol.

Ballast: on ships, ballast tanks can be filled with seawater, to regulate the vessel’s stability.

Bar: unit of measure for pressure. One bar is equivalent to atmospheric pressure at sea level.

Barge: flat-bottomed boat. Base: substance which, contrary to acid, is capable of capturing one or more hydrogen ions. When dissolved in water, acids lead to a pH greater than 7.

Bioaccumulation: the accumulation of a substance in living organisms up to concentrations far higher than those in the environment.

Biodegradable: qualifies a substance that can be broken down by living organisms.

Biofuel: alternative fuel produced from organic, nonfossil, renewable matter (alcohol, beetroot...).

Cation: ion carrying one or more positive electric charges.

Charterer: company that, on its own behalf or that of its customers, hires a ship to transport its goods or those of its customers.

Clinker: solid residue that remains after waste incineration.

Container: metal box with internationally standardized dimensions (20 or 40 feet), used to transport goods by different modes of transport (road, rail, air, river and sea).

Corrosive: capacity of a product to damage living tissues and attack materials such as metals.

Critical temperature: temperature above which a substance cannot exist in liquid phase, whatever the pressure

Dredger: machine used to remove mud and solids from the seafloor.

Drift: trajectory taken at sea or in a river by a floating slick, according to the currents and/or weather conditions.

Drone: remote-controlled unmanned device.

Drum: cylindrical container.

Dyspnea: breathing difficulties.

Edema: swelling of an organ or tissue caused by the infiltration of water or lymph.

Effluent: wastewater or liquid waste discharged into the water during clean-up operations in pollution response.

Electron: part of an atom carrying an negative elementary electric charge.

Energy recovery: recovery of the energy released by different processes such as incineration.

EPI: Personal Protective Equipment, used in marine pollution response, consisting of protective clothing, often combined with respiratory protection.

Excavation: act of digging up land.

Flushing: clean-up technique used to dislodge residual clusters of trapped pollutant or to wash and rinse rocks and pebbles.

Gastropod: large class of animals that are a subgroup of molluscs (e.g. snails, slugs, limpets, whelks).

GPS: Global Positioning System.

Grounding: accidental event in which a ship becomes immobilized on a shoal, beach…

Groundwater: underground water contained in soil pore spaces and the fractures of rock formations, which is renewed by the infiltration of surface waters.

Hold: place below the deck of a ship where solid goods are stored (in bulk or in containers).

Hydration: combination of a substance with one or several water molecules.

Hydrographic network: all the aquatic environments (lakes, rivers, groundwater, marshes etc.) present within a given area of land.

Hydrolysis: chemical decomposition by reaction with water.

Hydrophilic: a hydrophilic substance has an affinity for water and tends to dissolve in water.

Ifremer: French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea.

Immunodepression: weakening of an organism’s immune defenses.

Inland waters: all surface or ground waters present within emerged land (rivers, lakes...).

Ion: atom or group of atoms having won or lost one or more electrons.

Leachate: residual liquid once water has passed through matter (polluted or not).

Lighter: lightering a vessel involves emptying it of all or part of its cargo to make it lighter, in order, for example, to refloat it.

Liquefaction: physical process of turning a gas into a liquid.

Magnetometer: instrument used to measure the magnitude and direction of a magnetic field.

Molecule: set of atoms held together by chemical bonds.

Monomer: molecule that can combine with other monomers to form the basic structural unit of polymers.

Mucous membrane: a layer of cells lining the inner wall of cavities such as the digestive tract, bronchial tubes, mouth...

Mud: residual sediment following waste or wastewater treatment.

Nucleus: central part of an atom, positively charged and composed of protons and neutrons.

Oxidation: loss of one or more electrons by a molecule.

Petrochemistry: industry which uses compounds obtained from crude oil as primary products.

pH: measure of the acidity of an environment. Ranges from 0 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkali).

Phase: homogeneous part of a system. For instance, water (liquid phase) and ice (solid phase) are two phases of the same pure substance.

Photoionization detector: machine used to detect and quantify volatile organic compounds (trichloroethylene*, benzene*…).

Pictogram: universally understood illustration representing a particular notion.

Plug: device used to seal off an opening or pipe.

Polymer: large molecule composed of a chain of monomers held together by strong bonds.

PPE: Personal Protective Equipment, used in marine pollution response, consisting of protective clothing, often combined with respiratory protection.

Proton: positively charged constituent of an atom’s nucleus.

Putrescible: that is liable to decay.

Reaction: transformation of matter whereby the constituent chemical species (atoms, ions or molecules) are rearranged to form new substances.

Refining: operation or series of operations whereby a mixture of substances is processed, to obtain one or more pure substances or even one or more mixtures with specific properties.

Remote sensing: set of techniques used to detect pollution remotely (e.g. satellite).

Riprap: manmade pile of rocks intended to protect a coastal area from wave action.

ROV: Remotely Operated Vehicle.

Sand screener: machine used to sieve the top layer of sand, 5 to 20 cm deep, in order to remove pollutants or waste.

Scuttle: to deliberately sink a vessel.

Sessile: qualifies a living organism attached to a base (e.g. mussel).

Skimmer: device used to recover liquids floating at the water surface.

Sluice gate: a type of gate designed to regulate the inflow or outflow of water. Generally a vertical slide gate.

Solvent: substance able to dissolve and dilute other substances without chemically altering them or being altered itself.

Sonar: underwater detection and communication equipment like radar, based on the reflection of acoustic waves.

Stowage: arrangement of goods in a ship’s hold.

Tainting: alteration to the taste and/or odour of seafood.

Terminal: part of a sea port where goods are loaded onto and unloaded from ships.

Transhipment: process of transferring the load of a ship onto another ship.

Trawl net: funnel-shaped fishing net towed along the seafloor or midwater by a single vessel or pair of vessels.

Water column: volume of water between the surface and the bottom in a real or imaginary vertical tube.