Oil Spill Detection and Mapping in Low Visibility and Ice

Key Goals

The overall goal of this project is to expand the industry’s remote-sensing and monitoring capabilities in darkness and low visibility in broken ice and under ice, and to detect and track subsea plumes that can develop if dispersants are used to control continuous subsea releases.

This project is split into two elements: surface remote sensing (satellite-borne, airborne, ship-borne and on-ice detection technologies) and subsea remote sensing (mobile ROV- or AUV-based and fixed- detection technologies).

This project will be performed in phases. Firstly, the JIP conducted a technology assessment and evaluation of existing and emerging technologies that includes an evaluation of further research and development needs; logistical support requirements; and operational considerations, including testing opportunities. Secondly, based on this assessment, the JIP proposed a recommended test programme, identifying and qualifying the most promising sensors and platforms capable of determining the presence of oil and mapping its extent. The test programme was initiated in November 2014 at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. The tests marked the first time that an array of above surface and subsea sensors have been deployed under controlled conditions, and simultaneous multi-sensor data collected from initial growth of sea ice through to its melt.