Minimize Oil Pollution - Mediterranean Sea

Back to Oil Pollution

Strait of Sicily Strait of Sicily

Latitude: 36° 28' N - Longitude: 15° 04' E

Sea area in the Mediterranean Sea off the south-east coast of Sicily (Italy). Some of the dark patches visible on this image are very likely due to oil slicks produced by natural oil seeps which are known to exist in this sea area. The oil seeps at the ocean bottom are stationary, but the position of the oil patches on the sea surface varies according to the oceanic and meteorological conditions. Thus by taking repeatedly SAR images over the same ocean area and taking into account the advection of the oil slicks by ocean currents and by wind drift, the position of oil seeps can be determined. This method is widely used by oil companies in off-shore oil prospecting.
North of Sicily North of Sicily

Latitude: 38° 32' N - Longitude: 14° 53' E

On this image two straight black lines originating from oil released from traveling ships are visible. Extrapolating along these black lines, leads to two bright spots being hit. Presumably they represent the ships that have released the oil.
# Orbit Frame(s) Satellite Date Time Location
1 14957 2871 ERS-1 26-May-1994 09:41 Strait of Sicily
2 11797 0765 ERS-1 17-Oct-1993 21:16 North of Sicily

If you have any comments on these images please write an e-mail to