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Satellites Secure the Black Sea Environment

By [email protected] - 9th September 2008 - 10:23

The SCANEX Center and the Sea Port Administration (SPA) of Novorossiysk announced the successful launch of the joint demonstration project for integrated oil pollution monitoring of the Black Sea with the use of satellite and coast assets.
Photo: RADARSAT-1 imagery data of 20/08/2008 as viewed via the user interface of Kosmosnimki â The Black Sea geoportal (pollution plume is shown in red, yellow dots represent vessels) The project which started off in July 2008 aims at validating the Russian methods of prompt detection of oil pollution and environmental monitoring in the regions of heavy traffic in the Kerch Strait, the water area and approach routes of Novorossiysk Port. The first stage accomplished development and commissioning of the automated interface âKosmosnimki â The Black Seaâ for prompt routing of satellite data from Research and Development Center SCANEX in Moscow to operations team of Novorossiysk port captain. The new interface built on the basis of the well-known geoportal Kosmosnimki (, functions in restricted mode and allows displaying situation in the monitoring zone with indication of vessel coordinates and positioning of oil slicks detected in processing satellite imagery data. During the test imagery sessions of the Kerch Strait in July 2008 SCANEX Center discovered the drifting pollution plume from the sunken forward part of âVolgoneft-139â tanker hull. The day of August 14 marked the completion of the operations for lifting and transportation of the tanker forward section to the place of disposal. Thirty tons of remaining fuel oil were removed from the tanks putting an end to the source of pollution. Starting August 20 regular imagery sessions commenced on Novorossiysk port and approach routes performed in operational mode with data transfer to the port services via the automated geoportal interface âKosmosnimki â The Black Seaâ. Along with the satellite imagery the port services of Novorossiysk document the situation in the aquatorium using coast and ship assets, identify vessels involved in the detected pollution cases and carry out investigations envisaged by international conventions. The very first imagery sessions detected oil containing slicks and the followed analysis of the integrated monitoring data identified the guilty parties. One of them was the tanker âRasim Akarâ heading to Novorossiysk under the flag of Panama. The vessel inspection resulted in finding a failure of the water treatment equipment. Captain of Novorossiysk sea port, V. Yerygin pointed out that all-weather space monitoring significantly expanded capabilities and the radius of oil pollution detection zone. âThe modern space techniques currently undergoing tests will help improving environmental situation not only in Novorossiysk port but in the entire Russian sector of the Black Sea. The fact of the likely space monitoring proper will make ship captains treat the issues of navigation environmental safety more responsiblyâ. Vice-president of ScanEx Center Olga Gershenzon stressed that local methods of satellite monitoring were first applied in everyday practice of Novorossiysk port operations. It is expected by SCANEX Center that this progressive experience will be used in operations of other large ports of Russia. âNowadays the satellite monitoring of navigation routes is not just a progressive experience but this is a compulsory component of informational support of commercial activities via seaportsâ â she said. The joint project proves that Russia developed and brought up to the operational level the space methods that allow improving efficiency of the operational monitoring of sea routes and sea ports environmental safety.

Author: Anna Golovina

Bio.: ScanEx

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