Fighting pollution at sea: Each year, more than 15,000 images are analyzed by CLS’s experts

Aug 30, 2021

Oil spills at sea always rhyme with lasting damage to humans, the environment and marine ecosystems. We obviously remember the Grande America, but accidents follow one another all too frequently, reminding us that the ocean is a fragile territory to be protected.

The recent case of Japan, with the sinking of the Crimson Polaris, a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship that ran aground in front of the port of Hachinohe, and the subsequent oil spill, is the umpteenth reminder.

Solutions exist to combat this type of pollution, and it is from space, thanks to the satellites and drones that CLS deploys as a complement, that we help detect and quantify the extent of the slick, and support and facilitate the missions of crisis units.

The data provided by our satellite imagery experts can be used in court to help identify polluters.

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pollution identified in mar

How is a detection performed?

CLS keeps a close eye on the ocean with its network of three stations, including VIGISAT, based in Brest, France’s leading civilian station for receiving high-resolution satellite images.

Discover VIGISAT


VIGISAT is a reference center for near-real-time satellite-based maritime surveillance services: pollution monitoring and polluter identification, detection of illegal fishing, maritime situational awareness, support for government action at sea, iceberg detection, environmental monitoring and support for the offshore energy industry.

Each year, more than 15,000 images are analyzed by our experts to detect the damage committed on our oceans.

What are the results?

In 10 years, thanks to the European cooperation of the Cleanseanet service set up by EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency), for which CLS is a major partner, the number of oil spills in European waters has been halved.

Contact our team

Vigisat Team at the Operational Center