The Integrated European SAR Based Oil Spill Surveillance and Vessel Detection Services CleanSeaNet
European Maritime safety Agency, PORTUGAL
Monitoring of European waters for discharges of oil from ships and other sources like platforms is particularly challenging as the European Union is an inundated peninsula with an extensive coastline and several semi-enclosed seas. Contracting Governements signed MARPOL 73/79 have the obligation to follow up any possible violation against the regulation. Due to the large sea areas involved and to the transboundary behaviour of oil discharges the European Marine Safety Agency is providing in support of European coastal states, the operational satellite based oil spill monitoring and vessel detection service: CleanSeaNet.
CleanSeaNet currently relies on the wide-swath synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites Radarsat-1, Radarsat-2 and Cosmo-SkyMed, with the possibility of using TerraSAR-X, and in future, Sentinel-1. SAR images are analysed on oil spills and vessels in nominally less than 30 minutes after satellite acquisition; and alerts are provided on European scale to the national users in 26 coastal states. In order respond to Member States coverage requirements CleanSeaNet has direct links to the satellite planning. The timeliness requires direct downlink to a network of ground stations and is enforced by strict contractual conditions. The information is further enriched with vessel characteristics, vessel traffic information, oceanographic and meteorological information; all together with nautical charts for straight forward use by the national maritime administrations.
CleanSeaNet 1st generation started in 2007, heavily using ENVISAT, as a successor from EU and ESA funded projects and since 2011 CleanSeaNet 2nd generation is hosted at EMSA premises enabling the link to other EMSA data and information services like SafeSeaNet, (Sat-)AIS and LRIT. Important is the polluter identification which is supported by coupling multiple oil spill dispersant models to CleanSeaNet in order to retrieve the origin of the spill und to predict its future development which enables planning necessary clean-up operations. The CleanSeaNet service and the coastal state follow up provide a consistent set of information for decision making processes and a traceable first element of the chain of evidence needed for prosecution. The yearly analyses of over 2000 SAR images supports the national response activities in terms of greater consistency, efficiency and effectiveness; and is seen as an indispensable tool for the European Member States to be compliant with international obligations.