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Treaty Enforcement Services Using Earth Observation - Marine Pollution (MARPOL Convention)

A study done under the Treaty Enforcement Services Using Earth Observation (TESEO) initiative with the objective to explore the potential of satellite imagery to support the implementation of the MARPOL 73/78 Convention.

Treaty Enforcement Services Using Earth Observation - Marine Pollution (MARPOL Convention)
GSP (General Studies Programme)
Feasibility Study

TESEO-MARPOL was one of four special studies awarded by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2001 under the Treaty Enforcement Services Using Earth Observation (TESEO) programme, which aimed at exploring the potential of Earth Observation (EO) to support the implementation of international environmental treaties of European concern.

MARPOL 73/78 Convention includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimising pollution from ships, both accidental pollution and from routine operations. The treaty covers six types of pollutant addressed under separate Annexes; I (oil), II (chemicals), III (packages substances), IV (sewage), V (garbage) and VI (stack emissions). With reference to the violation threshold for discharges set out in the Annexes, only oil spills can realistically be detected from space with sufficient confidence to consider their use in regulatory pollution surveillance operations.

TESEO-MARPOL analysed the interleaving regional treaties and agreements that embrace MARPOL 73/78, and the mechanisms for enforcement and prosecution that regional countries have in place. It identifed the potential role for EO and how this might be incorporated by way of decision support systems and information products into the MARPOL enforcement mechanism. The study identified regulatory user groups and associated decision support systems that integrate EO as important elements of the information delivery chain. In common with the methods underpinning existing family of integrated marine information systems, an approach of adding value to available fragmented data was considered the best option. A decision support system concept was proposed that accommodates EO as one of a number of data inputs in a knowledge delivery chain designed to address MARPOL regulatory needs. A special feature is the transformation of the satellite oil spill image information into a special data object and the use of so-called forensic algorithms to enable one to synthesise the past history and eventual fate of the spill. The study allowed to explore innovative approaches for the integration of EO and to design a pilot demonstrator.

Phase 1 Report
British Maritime Technology Limited
Jerzy Graff, Director of Environment Systems
Orlando House, 1 Waldegrave Road
Teddington, Middlesex
TW11 8LZ England Tel. +44 (0) 20 8943 5544
Fax. +44 (0) 20 8943 5347
Espen Volden
European Space Agency
Via Galileo Galilei C.P.94
I-00044 Frascati (Roma)
Tel: +39 06-941.80624
Fax: +39 06-942.80552