Detecting Oil Spills

DETECTING OIL SPILLS PLANET ICON

Client

EMSA, European Maritime Safety Agency

Region/Country

Europe

Context

EU directive 2005/35/EC on ship-source pollution and the introduction of penalties for infringements

  • EMSA’s mission to develop technical solutions for discharges tracing by satellite monitoring and tracking

Challenge

Near real-time detection of marine pollution

Our mission in CleanSeaNet

  • Processing & analyzing SAR images
  • Detect oil spills
  • Identify polluters from combining data types
  • Drift model to anticipate costal damage
  • Real time reports

Benefits for the end users

  • Reliable, fast and high quality information to help detect marine pollutions and prosecute polluters
  • Prompt follow-up actions
  • Decrease in the number of detected oil spills
  • Improvement in the marine environment

430 billion km² monitored by EMSA

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Satellite evidence in UK Court

February 25, 2012:

9am – Off the coast of Cornwall, UK. EMSA detected possible spill using Envisat.February 25, 2012:

10am – Combining our satellite images with AIS, the vessel was identified.

11am – UK’s Maritime and Coast Guard contacted the vessel:

  • First, he denied the slick.
  • Then argued it was outside the UK’s 12 nautical mile limit, where certain discharges are permitted.

February 26, 2012:

Satellite evidence proved the slick was inside territorial waters, and so the discharge was illegal.

October 4, 2013:

At the trial, the vessel’s owner was found guilty. According to the Maritime and Coast Guard’s enforcement unit, the guilty verdict would not have happened without CLS’ satellite evidence.

FullRes_Image
image Uk Court

These images show, above, a satellite radar image with the location, of detected oil on the sea surface. The shape of the spill indicates a possible trailing slick of oily waste from an underway vessel. Hereunder, AIS vessel track information identifies the tanker