Minimize Prestige oil spill - Galicia, Spain
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GALICIA, Spain, 20 November - A crippled tanker carrying more than 20 million gallons (around 67,000 tons) of oil split in half off the northwest coast of Spain on Tuesday (Nov. 19), threatening one of the worst environmental disasters in history. The rear section of the Prestige sunk early in the day, taking many of the oil tanks with it. Should the tanks leak, the resulting spill would be more than twice the size of that caused by the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident, warned the World Wildlife Federation.

Trouble began last Wednesday, when the Bahamian-flagged vessel encountered a violent storm about 150 miles off Spain's Atlantic coast, causing an oil tank to puncture. The leak already had spilled at least 2 million gallons of oil. The tanker also had a 30- to 50-foot crack in the hull below the waterline which made it unable to proceed under its own power while salvagers sought a port to do repairs or transfer the oil to another vessel.... Read more

 

 

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SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain, Nov 21 (From AFP) - Spain was Thursday tracking an eight-kilometer long oil slick from the sunken tanker Prestige, with a local official saying a shift in wind direction has, for now, spared the northwest coastline from further damage. Neighboring Portugal also declared itself safe from further pollution from the sinking of the 42,000 tons Prestige.

The tanker, owned by a Liberian-registered company and flying a Bahamas flag of convenience, was still carrying some 67,000 tons of heavy fuel oil in its hold compartments when it split in two on Tuesday and dived down more than 3.5 kilometers to the depths of the ocean. The spill threatens the region's economic and environmental well-being, which is largely dependent on the sea for its livelihood. Spain had on Wednesday warned that the eight-kilometer slick, propelled by strong southwesterly winds, was headed toward the Galician coast... Read More

 

 

ESA supplies satellite imagery on Spanish oil spill under International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, Italy Dec 9
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To support relief agencies with space data, ESA has been providing satellite images almost daily since 17 November from its ERS and Envisat spacecraft in support of relief efforts in the wake of the oil spill off the Spanish coast.

ESA regularly supplies SAR images to the involved authorities in Spain, Portugal and France. The images were initially requested by the European Commission, which activated the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, on 14 November. Imagery has been, and will continue to be sent to the authorised user, the EC's Monitoring and Information Centre, and forwarded to national authorities.

The Charter is an international endeavour to bring satellite technology at service of rescue authorities and other civil protection agencies in cases of natural or man-made disasters. Under the agreement, ESA, along with CNES, the Canadian Space Agency, the Indian Space Research Organization, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have agreed to contribute with their satellite imagery upon request from authorised users, usually the civil protection organization from the country of a Charter member.

A 24-hour operator located at ESRIN, Frascati, receives incoming requests and passes the information along to an emergency on-call officer provided by each agency on a weekly rotation, who prepares an archive and acquisition plan using available space resources. The case is then followed by a project manager, who, in the case of the oil spill from the tanker “Prestige,” was assigned at CNES, which coordinated the satellite acquisitions and performs initial interpretation of the imagery before passing it along to the authorised user.

The extent of the oil spill was clearly visible on an acquisition from Envisat ASAR instrument on 17 November and on a RADARSAT-1 image on 18 November. After 19 November, the sea conditions turned very bad and prevented obvious detection of the oil slicks. However, suspected oil slicks around the Spanish coast appear on the images acquired on the 2 and 3 December.

Image acquisitions of the affected area will continue and will be forwarded to the appropriate civil agencies. ESA has given full priority to data acquisition of the affected area, it is important to understand that the repeat cycle of the satellite does not allow having an image every day. The fact that the Envisat satellite is still in the commissioning phase introduces some delays in the availability of the processed images.

The latest sample data is available here.

ERS and ENVISAT planned passes for the 20 to the 29 November 2002

Details of special ERS SAR and ENVISAT ASAR planning up to the 07 January 2003
(more planning under the planning page)

Satellite Type/Polarisation Orbit Date Comment
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 3741   17/11/02 Oil slick detected. See below
ERS Vertical Pol  39749 26/11/02 22:49 UTC High wind. Possible oil slick, but could be just sea current
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 3877   26/11/02 22:19 UTC High wind. Possible oil slick, but could be just sea current
ERS Vertical Pol  39835 2/12/02 Possible oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 3963 2/12/02 Possible oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol  39824 3/12/02 Possible oil slicks, but probably only sea current
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 3970 3/12/02 Possible oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4020 6/12/02
21:40 UTC
Possible oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol  39935 6/12/02
22:10 UTC
Possible oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4056 9/12/02
10.53 UTC
Possible small oil slick in the darker area
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4063 9/12/02
22:11 UTC
Perhaps an oil slick is visible, but it could be a no-wind area. 
ERS Vertical Pol  39971 12/12/02
11.29 UTC
Possible oil slicks, but the wind is very strong
ERS Vertical Pol  40028 16/12/02
11:03 UTC
High probability of oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4156 16/12/02
19:32 UTC
High probability of oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol  40071 19/12/02 High probability of oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4206 19/12/02
21:55 UTC
Possible oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol  40114 22/12/02 High probability of oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4292 25/12/02
22:07 UTC
High probability of oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4299 26/12/02 High probability of oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4378 31/12/02
22:20 UTC
Probability of oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol 40257 01/01/03 High probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4421 03/01/03
22:25 UTC
Probability of oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol 40307_891 04/01/03 High probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4464 06/01/03
22:30 UTC
Probability of oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4464 06/01/03
22:30 UTC
Probability of oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol 40343_2727 07/01/03 High probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4471 07/01/03 High probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4521 10/01/03 Probability of oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4557 13/01/03 Probability of oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol 40429_2745 13/01/03 Probability of oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol 40436_873 13/01/03 Probability of oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol 40472 16/01/03 Probability of oil slicks
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4600 16/01/03 Probability of oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol 40486_2727 17/01/03 Probability of oil slicks
ERS Vertical Pol 40536 20/01/03 High probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 40579_873 23/01/03 High probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4707 23/01/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4736 25/01/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 40615_2727 26/01/03 High probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4743 26/01/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 40701_2745 01/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4922 07/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4929 08/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4936 08/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 40801_2727 08/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 40808_873 08/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4972 11/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 40844_2727 11/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 4979 11/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 40851_873 11/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 5008 13/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 40987_2727 21/Feb/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 5237 01/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41202_2727 08/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41209_873 08/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41252_855 11/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41259_2727 12/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41266_873 12/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41302_2727 15/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41345_2727 18/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41481_873 27/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41524_837 30/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 5652 30/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41538_873 31/Mar/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 5702 03/Apr/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 5709 03/Apr/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 5752 06/Apr/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 5759 07/Apr/03 Probability of oil slick
ENVISAT Wide Swath Vertical Pol 5795 09/Apr/03 Probability of oil slick
ERS Vertical Pol 41667_873 09/Apr/03 Probability of oil slick

Images processed by the Earth Watching team during the period.
All this images has been delivered to the Spanish,
Portuguese and French authorities.

image An ENVISAT ASAR Wide Swath image acquisition was scheduled (in emergency) for 17 November 2002. The data were acquired in Matera (Italy) and the corresponding image was generated on 20 November at ESRIN in Italy. The image at the left covers an area 400x300 Km.
(Click on thumbnail to view large image)
image Enlargements of the above image showing, in black, the oil slick released by the tanker. The tanker itself is visible as white dot at the bottom-left of the main slick (Bottom-left of the image). The black areas along the Spanish coast near the town of Vigo are due to calm waters and not to oil.
(Click on thumbnail to view large image)
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 2 December night (orbit 39836). Possible oil slicks are visible in the image. The image is located west to Galicia where the ship sunk.
Click on the image to zoom in
  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 2 December (orbit 3963). 
Possible oil slicks are visible in the image. Click on lighter areas to zoom in
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 3 December night (orbit 39824). 
Possible oil slicks, but probably is only sea current. The two coastal towns are Aviles and Gijon (Asturias region)
Click on the image to zoom in
  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 3 December night (orbit 3970).
In this quick look image no spills are visible. 
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 6 December night (orbit 39935).
Possible oil slicks are visible in the upper right part of the image. The two coastal towns are Aviles and Gijon (Asturias region)
Click on the image to zoom in
  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 6 December night (orbit 4020). Note: the area covered by the ERS image is mainly the left part (lower portion).
Possible oil slicks are visible in the central part of the image (partially covered by the left ERS image).
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 9 December (orbit 39928).
No oil slicks are visible in the image.
Click on the image to zoom in
  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 9 December (orbit 4056). Note: the large black area ( around 200 x 200 km) visible on the left of the image is due to atmospheric phenomena and not to oil.
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 9 December night (orbit 4063). Perhaps an oil slick is visible, but it could be a no-wind area. Click on the image to zoom in. The coastal town on the right is Santander. 
  ERS SAR acquisition of the 12 December (orbit 39971). Possible oil slicks, but the wind is very strong. The "cushion" effect is due to clouds over water. Click on the image to zoom in
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 12 December night (orbit 39978). No oil slicks detected (the black areas along the coast are calm water). Click on the image to zoom in
  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 13 December (orbit 4113). Click on the image to zoom in. The image covers Spanish and French coasts. 
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 16 December (orbit 40028). High probability of oil slicks. The town along the coast (cluster of bright dots) is Santander (Cantabria region)
  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 16 December night (orbit 4156). High probability of oil slicks.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 19 December (orbit 40071). Possible oil slicks. The town along the coast (cluster of bright dots on the left) is Gijon (Asturias region)
  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 19 December night (orbit 4206). Possible oil slicks. Browse image, covering Spanish and French coasts.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 22 December (orbit 40114). The rightmost dark area is with high probability an oil slicks. The image is over Galicia and Asturias regions 
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  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 25 December night (orbit 4292). High possible oil slicks. The image covers the Asturias and Cantabria regions.
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image   ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 26 December (orbit 4299). The dark area is with high probability oil slicks. The image cover the coast of the  Spanish and French (Aquitaine) coasts.
  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 31 December night (orbit 4378). High possible oil slicks. The image covers the Galicia and Asturias regions.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 01 January 2003 (orbit 40257 frame 2727). The rightmost dark areas are with high probability oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Cantabria region. 
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 03 January night (orbit 4421). High possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast south of the Galicia  region.
  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 06 January night (orbit 4464). Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast south of the Galicia  region.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 04 January 2003 (orbit 40307 frame 891). The rightmost dark areas are with high probability  oil slicks. The image covers the north coast of the Cantabria region. 
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 07 January 2003 (orbit 40343 frame 2727). The rightmost dark areas along the coast are with high probability  oil slicks. The town along the coast (cluster of bright dots on the left) is Gijon (Asturias region)
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  ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 07 January (orbit 4471). Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Asturias region.
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 13 January (orbit 4557). Possible oil slicks. 
image ERS SAR acquisition of the 13 January 2003 (orbit 40429 frame 2745). The rightmost dark areas along the coast are with high probability  oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Galicia region. 
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 13 January 2003 (orbit 40436 frame 873). Possible oil slicks.  The image covers the Galicia and Asturias regions.
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ERS SAR acquisition of the 16 January 2003 (orbit 40472 frame 2709 up,2727 middle,2745 down). The rightmost dark areas along the coast are with high probability  oil slicks. The image covers the north coast of the Galicia region. 

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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 16 January (orbit 4600). Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Galicia region.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 17 January (orbit 40486 frame 2727). The dark area is with high probability oil slicks. The image cover the coast of the Basque Country. The city of  Bilbao is shown as a cluster of bright points in the image along the coast.
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image ERS SAR mosaic acquisition of the 20 January 2003 (orbit 40536 frame 873_855). The rightmost dark areas are with high probability  oil slicks. 
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 23 January (orbit 4707). Probability oil slicks. The image cover the coast of the  Spanish and French (Aquitaine) coasts.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 23 January (orbit 40579 frame 873). The dark area is with high probability oil slicks. The image cover the coast of the Cantabria region. The city of  Santander is shown as a cluster of bright points in the image along the coast.
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 25 January (orbit 4736). Possible oil slicks. The image covers the north coast of the Galicia regions.
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 26 January (orbit 4743). Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Galicia and Asturias regions.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 26 January 2003 (orbit 40615 frame 2727). The rightmost dark areas are with high probability  oil slicks. The image covers the north coast of the Asturian region. 

 

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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 01 February (orbit 40701 frame 2745). The rightmost dark areas are with high probability oil slicks. Click on the image to zoom in.
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 07 February (orbit 4922). Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Galicia regions.
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 08 February (orbit 4929). Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Galicia and Asturias regions.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 08 February (orbit 40801 frame 2727). The dark areas near the coast  are with high probability  oil slicks. The image covers coast of the Asturian region. 
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 08 February (orbit 4936). Probability oil slicks. The image cover the coast of the  Spanish and French (Aquitaine) coasts.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 08 February (orbit 40808 frame 873). The dark area is with high probability oil slicks. The image cover the coast of the Cantabria region. 
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 11 february (orbit 4972). Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Galicia regions.
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 11 February (orbit 4979). Probability oil slicks. The image cover the coast of the  Spanish and French (Aquitaine) coasts.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 11 February (orbit 40851 frame 873). High probability oil slicks. The image cover the coast of the Cantabria region. 
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 13 february (orbit 5008). Possible oil slicks. The image covers the  coast of the Galicia regions.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 21 February (orbit 40987 frame 2727). High probability oil slicks. The image cover the coast of the Basque Country. 
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image ENVISAT ASAR acquisition of the 01 March (orbit 5237). Possible oil slicks. The image covers the south coast of the Galicia  region.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 08 March (orbit 41202 frame 2727), Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Galicia regions.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 08 March (orbit 41209 frame 873), Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Galicia regions.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 11 March (orbit 41252 frame 855), Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Galicia regions.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 12 March (orbit 41259 frame 2727), Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Asturias regions.
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image ERS SAR acquisition of the 15 March (orbit 41302 frame 2727), Possible oil slicks. The image covers the coast of the Asturias regions. 
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