The focus of the service will be to provide Member States with continuity of service, economies of scale and rapid response times in supplying processed information.
Eurimage S.p.A., as the authorised commercial licence distributor, will provide ASAR (Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar) images from the European Space Agency (ESA) ENVISAT satellite.
EMSA was tasked under Article 10 of Directive 2005/35/EC of 7th September 2005 on Ship-Source Pollution and on the Introduction of Penalties for Infringements of the European Parliament and Council, to “work with the Member States in developing technical solutions and providing technical assistance in relation to the implementation of this Directive, in actions such as tracing discharges by satellite monitoring and surveillance.”
CleanSeaNet is a European operational system for satellite detection of oil slicks. The service will begin operating in mid-April 2007 and will provide analysed images from ENVISAT and RADARSAT satellites. A network of receiving stations in Norway, Italy and, from 2008, the Azores will receive the data, which will be relayed to control centres for rapid processing and analysis by trained operators, who will assess the images, together with meteorological information, for the possible presence of oil on the sea surface and the source of the pollution. The processed information will be sent simultaneously to the national authorities in the affected Member States and to EMSA. The time from data acquisition by the satellite to the receipt of processed information by pollution control authorities will be a maximum of 30 minutes.
A consortium of service providers, consisting of Kongsberg Satellite Services AS (Norway), Telespazio s.p.A (Italy) and Edisoft (Portugal) will be responsible for the downloading, processing, analysis and dissemination of the images and derived information, including alerts, to participating coastal states and to EMSA.
“This is a first, and significant, step in the process whereby EMSA assists Member States and the Commission in detecting illegal and accidental discharges at sea,” said EMSA Executive Director, Willem de Ruiter. “The Member States have the responsibility for implementing Directive 2005/35/EC and this service will ensure that they will be given the necessary support so that maritime pollution monitoring and detection can be done on a larger and more sustainable scale.”
Eurimage Managing Director Marcello Maranesi said: “The oil spill service for EMSA is the first operational monitoring service at European level based on Satellite data. Satellite Radar data are going to introduce a temporal dimension in our services and new missions, like Cosmo Sky-Med, Terrasat and Radarsat-2, will soon open up a new operational scenario for operational services.”