Concentrations and Sources of Petroleum Hydrocarbons in the Sediments of Anzali Port in the Caspian Sea, Iran



Ports’ activities could result in oil spills occurrences and oil pollution in different ways including the discharges of ships’ oily wastes, discharges of oily ballast water and leaks at oil terminals. In this paper, using the results of the analyses of the hydrocarbon compounds in the samples collected from the sediments in the Anzali Port in the Caspian Sea in Iran, the levels of oil pollution in the sediments, in terms of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons and Petroleum Aromatic Hydrocarbons, are studied. Also using a number of existing biomarker profiles, the sources of aliphatic hydrocarbons were investigated. The concentration of Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons ranged between 7.6 to 29 mg/kg indicated that oil pollution content of the sediments in the area is at a low to medium level. Also the concentrations of PAHs in the sediments were very low (0.62 – 6.12 ng/g). This indicated that the sediments sampled in the study area can be considered unpolluted in terms of aromatic hydrocarbons. Analyses of the samples using a number of biomarkers showed a combination of natural (marine and terrestrial) and petrogenic hydrocarbons in the sediments in the Anzali Port area.