Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1
Where does the term ‘Seveso’ come from?

Seveso is a city in Northern Italy - close to Milan – with a population of approximately 17,000 people. On June 10, 1976 a valve failure at the ICMESA chemical manufacturing plant caused a leakage of a few kilos of highly toxic dioxin TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) into the air. Whilst no human lives were lost, thousands of animals died and the area immediately around the plant was evacuated. The accident raised awareness of the risks associated with plants / factories that store or manage hazardous substances, and the need for regulating the issue of safety management.

Thus, the European Directive on the prevention and treatment of major accidents took its name from this Italian city.

Question 2
What is the main objective of the European Union’s ‘Seveso’?

The main objective of the European Union’s ‘Seveso II’ Directive and its associated regulations - that harmonise Cyprus’ legislation with the Directive - is to prevent, and also address, potential risks in the unlikely event of major accidents at hazardous substance storage facilities such as the oil company facilities located in Larnaka.

Question 3
What is a ‘major accident’?

A ‘major accident’ is an accident that occurs at a plant / facility that stores or manages hazardous substances and refers to a large leak, fire or explosion that is characterised by its size, and that results from uncontrolled situations during the operation of a plant / facility. An accident of this nature poses serious risks to humans – be they direct or indirect – inside or outside of the plant / facilities, as well as to the environment.

Question 4
Why is there a public information campaign?

In accordance with the Directive and its associated regulations, oil and gas facilities are required to provide members of the public - who may be affected by potential accidents - with general information about their activities, compliance with the Directive requirements, security management, the nature of the risks, how they will alert and inform the public, the appropriate action to be taken in case of an accident, and any other relevant information.

Question 5
How is the safe operation of oil facilities ensured?

According to the basic provisions of the regulations, the oil companies have already submitted ‘Security Reports’ to the Department of Labour Inspection and the Civil Defence as well as ‘Internal Emergency Plans’, which ensure effective management of the ‘Security’ at oil company facilities.

The oil companies, with the cooperation of the Civil Defence, the Department of Labour Inspection and the Fire Service, are making constant efforts to efficiently and effectively ensure the safe operation of their facilities. The oil company facilities are always operated and maintained to strict standards and in accordance with internationally set standards; they are systematically inspected by the above competent national authorities, as well as by other inspection bodies, and regularly conduct joint safety drills.