CleanSeaNet, a service providing satellite-based assistance with oil spill and marine vessel detection, has been funded by the European Union for a further five years. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) set up and began operating CleanSeaNet in 2007.
EU funding ensures that this valuable EMSA service will continue, increasing the likelihood of early detection of spills involving oil or other Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS). Such early detection helps response agencies to contain and remove the products more quickly which may, in turn, prevent wildlife from being impacted. This early information also allows wildlife response organisations to be ready in advance to care for affected animals.
Using images from the ENVISAT, RADARSAT 1 & 2, with planned use of SENTINEL-1 satellites, CleanSeaNet is able to provide information on early stage and ongoing oil spill movement within 30 minutes of one of the satellites passing over the area. When a spill is detected via satellite, the information is passed on to relevant member parties who can then follow up with spotter planes to get further details on the situation.
Members can also request specific information. In several cases data from CleanSeaNet satellites has assisted member agencies in successfully prosecuting polluters, providing images that confirm the presence of the oil or other pollutant. By correlating this information with data regarding ship movement available through SafeSeaNet, an EMSA programme for tracking vessels at sea, prosecutors may be able to directly link the vessel and the spill.