Illegal and accidental discharges of oil from ships and oil rigs can cause significant damage to the marine environment and may also have a large financial impact. Use of satellite radar data has proven to be an efficient tool to assist the national authorities in detecting potential oil slicks and locate polluters. Geographical position of potential oil-spills is reported from the data and forms the basis for the end users decision on further investigation e.g. by patrol boats and aerial surveillance. Fast detection and warning of oil slick at sea is crucial as it allows pollution control authorities to initiate actions before the oil drift on shore. Today's service for the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has been developed and is provided by Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), e-GEOS, EDISOFT and CLS.
The SeaU project will, in close cooperation with existing and new users, establish an interface for integration of multi-disciplinary information in accordance with relevant standards and directives, and improve the oil detection methodology in compliance with user requirements. It will include multidisciplinary data and information, e.g. space born radar and optical data, and other environmental data such as vulnerable areas, bird cliffs etc. Another part of the project is to improve source detection and identification of polluters, with user of land based and space born sensors (AIS, LRIT), and also implement oil drift models in the operational service. In close cooperation with existing and new users, the project will result in new and improved operational oil monitoring service for end users in Europe.