Migrating to WordPress allows easier compensation claims for victims of oil pollution

Migrating IOPC's website to WordPress enables multilingual support, a searchable document library, and easier maintenance for compensation claims.

Project overview

The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) is an organization that provides financial compensation for oil pollution damage caused by one of the 115 countries party to the FUND92 maritime treaty. They engaged with Elementary Digital to produce a network of sites that support multiple languages and would handle the database of documents published by its working groups.


  • Fully localized multilingual website based on WordPress multisite network.
  • Content migration from Typo3.
  • Custom Google Maps API integration.
  • Automatic optical character recognition based on AWS Lambda.
  • Custom publications and reports database.

The brief

As an international maritime treaty, IOPC Funds required a site that could be localized in languages defined by the treaty: English, French and Spanish. Their current site based on Typo3 required a lot of overhead to maintain as it wasn’t easy to localize. The new site would also have to support a large database of publications and documents produced by the fund’s working groups. Finally, the solution had to take into account migrating their existing content from Typo3 to WordPress.

The IOPC homepage migrated from Typo3 to WordPress.

The solution

We proposed a solution based on migrating the current site to a WordPress multisite network. This would integrate with the plugin WPML to allow each site in the network to be localized in a different language. In order to ease the burden of maintenance, translations were set up to be as simple as possible for users to add. It was important that we design a site with translation in mind, as content would take up different amounts of space when translated. Part of the requirement of the site was to display oil spill incidents around the globe through time; to do this we created a custom integration with the Google Maps API. 

Searchable document library

In order to enable users to search and sort through their large library of mostly PDF documents, we recommended that the site automatically scan new documents through OCR technology (optical character recognition) as they were uploaded. To do this we wrote a custom WordPress integration which scans PDF documents and returns a searchable record that is uploaded to the database. This enables users of the site to search through the library’s (otherwise unreadable) content. Since the custom script was securely hosted on AWS Lambda, there would be no extra burdens when it came to hosting the WordPress site.

The searchable document library.

The challenge

Migrating a site with existing content can be complex, but it can be doubly complex with translated content. Localization was not only important in the website’s frontend content, but also in the publications and documents uploaded to the site. To overcome this challenge we created a custom import/export process for migrating from Typo3 to WordPress, which have very different database structures. This also handled the migration of multiple translations of documents hosted within the Typo3 platform. Existing publications were scanned using the same OCR technology we used for new documents so they would be instantly searchable in the new site.

Migrating from Typo3 to WordPress allows IOPC to leverage WordPress’s flexibility of design, such as an interactive map.

Our impact

Since the site has gone live, IOPC have provided millions of dollars in compensation for damage caused to coastal communities, public resources like drinking water, and aquatic habitats. Claims can be submitted in many languages, while the document library assists in researching and submitting successful claims. The overhead of maintaining multiple translations is greatly reduced by use of the WordPress multisite network. 

The people that made it possible

  • Andy
  • Michael
  • Sakis