ESA Earth Home Missions Data Products Resources Applications
EO Data Access
How to Apply
How to Access
Site Map
Frequently asked questions
Terms of use
Contact us



CleanSeaNet: The EU remote sensing based monitoring system for marine oil spill detection and surveillance in European waters

Samuel Djavidnia(1), Olaf Trieschmann(1), Leendert Bal(1), Heli Haapasaari(1), Anne-Marie Hayes(1), Marc Journel(1) and Pedro Lourenco-Bento(1)

(1) European Maritime Safety Agency, Av. Dom João II, Lote, 1998-001 Lisbon, Portugal


The discharge of oil from ships, oil platforms and other sources causes significant damage to our coasts and to the marine environment in general. The monitoring of European waters is particularly challenging as the EU is an inundated peninsula with an extensive external coastline and several significant semi-enclosed seas. At present, monitoring is being undertaken by a number of Member States, but the coverage is by no means uniform across the EU. Due to the large sea areas involved and to the transboundary behaviour of deliberate, illegal oil discharges the EU Member States tasked the European Marine Safety Agency (EMSA) to develop an operational satellite monitoring system: CleanSeaNet. CleanSeaNet has thus been developed to support improvements in terms of greater consistency, efficiency and effectiveness.

CleanSeaNet supplies Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) analysed images from data provided by the European Space Agency’s ENVISAT and Canada’s RADARSAT satellites. The downloading, processing and analysis of the data and the supply of the resulting images is carried out by a consortium of European companies.

After having planned and ordered a specific number of images according to the coverage requirements of the European Coastal States, a network of receiving stations in Norway, Italy and the Azores (the latter as of 2008) receives the data from the satellites for real-time processing and analysis in nominally less than 30 minutes. Operators assess the images, together with supporting meteorological, oceanographic and ancillary information (AIS, vessel detection), to identify possible pollutions, to determine the likelihood of the presence of oil on the sea surface and to assist in identifying the source of the pollution. The processed and analysed information is then distributed simultaneously to both the national authorities in the affected European Coastal States and to EMSA.

Currently 22 EU coastal states have joined the service, and approximately 1100 SAR scenes have been ordered from mid April to the end of October, with a successful delivery rate of more than 90%. A dedicated CleanSeaNet web portal has been created for easy access to the service, which comprises of a geographical information system web browser, an image data-bank and a document section.

The presentation will: show the technical setup of the service, give details of the analysis and provide the first results of the service after 9 months in operation.


Workshop presentation

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry