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Large discharges from ships in the Black Sea studied by synthetic aperture radar with the support of automated identification systems

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During routine oil spill monitoring in the eastern Black Sea in 2011 and 2012 by RDC ScanEx, unprecedentedly large patches of oil of shipping origin were detected on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images. The oil spills were detected mostly in the Russian sector of the sea or on its borders. The presence of large oil spills was confirmed using Terra and Aqua optical images. Using automated identification systems data, the vessel candidates were identified, and two of them were inspected. This paper presents for the first time the results of monitoring that show that the central part of the Black Sea is used for tank-washing operations and illegal dumping of oily products. The legality of producing these spills in the framework of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is also discussed. These and other similar events registered during the monitoring require the attention of environmental and nature conservation organizations. Summary maps of large oil spills detected in the Eastern Black Sea in 2011 and 2012 are presented and discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 117997, Russia 2: SCANEX Research and Development Centre, Moscow Region, 142784, Russia

Publication date: July 18, 2014

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