EMSA issued a report about a study, to evaluate the feasibility to develop an IT system, to support Member States in their preparedness of mobilising oil pollution response resources at sea.
n particular, this feasibility study discusses to which extent EMSA’s vision and desired functionalities of the tool are technically feasible. It also proposes technical solutions that EMSA may take into account in the preparation of the requirements for the procurement of services for the development of the future IT tool.
Functional specifications of the system
To fulfil the EMSA’s requirements, it will be necessary to design and develop an IT system with the following functional specifications:
- To run the Oil Spill Model (OSM) and the Response Simulator (RS). The system should be able:
- To run oil spill simulations to predict the trajectory, dispersion, and weathering of oil spills at sea considering the met ocean conditions at the spill site. The initial oil spill location will be provided from a specific location or polygons obtained, e.g., from aerial observations, satellite images, or RPAS images.
- To run several independent spills to take into account the division of the oil spill into several slicks.
- To run the response simulator to estimate the amount of oil removed, dispersed, or burned from the sea surface by the deployment of oil pollution response equipment and resources. The output of the 3D oil spill model will serve as the basis for the simulator.
- It should be flexible to import data from third-party oil spill models and to run the response simulator with this information.
- Management and visualization of external databases: earth observation, met ocean forecasting, and geospatial information.
- Management and visualization of the system databases:
- It shall integrate a database of oils that are frequently transiting European waters. The database shall gather the physical and chemical properties of the oils required for the oil spill model.
- It shall integrate a database of European oil pollution resources. In addition, it should be possible the integration of other regional or local sources of environmental data from EU Member States.
- Management, export, and visualization of the simulation results:
- OSM: transport and dispersion of the oil spill, as well as, the temporal evolution of the weathering processes.
- RS: the amount of oil removed/dispersed/burned, the Gantt chart for the schedule of the operations and the total cost for a set response strategy.
Options for importing oil spill model data from different models in the system
The objective of this section is to assess and compare the different options for importing oil spill model data from different models in the system. The new system must have one model integrated to generate the data needed for the simulator, however, it should be flexible to allow users to input data from their own oil spill models.
Oil spill model integrations could be undertaken under two different approaches, according to their level of integration. The “fully integrated” approach will execute and run the model into the system, whereas the “not fully integrated approach” will integrate model outputs into the system through Extract Transform and Load (ETL) processes.
Options to provide the location of the oil spill into the GIS oil spill model
The objective of this section is to identify and assess options to provide in an easy and user-friendly way the location of the oil spill into the GIS oil spill model e.g. aerial observations, geographical coordinates, polygons from satellite images, images from RPAS.
This functionality will allow running the oil spill model with updated information about the spill response. Field observations and aerial images provide a confident initial starting point for the oil spill modelling. If this information is available periodically during an emergency, the model can be re-initiated as new information is received, which can represent a continuous improvement for the modelling. In addition, this information can also be used to launch one simulation per polygon and therefore allowing to simulate indirectly the split of the slicks.
Phases of the spill response operation
Response operations do not only involve direct spill response actions. The notification and start-up of the assets, the travel times to the location, the effective deployment of the components, the endurance of both the equipment and the transport (vessel and aircraft), the working conditions, and the capacity and staff needs, are what determine the technical and logistic aspects associated with the deployments in the event of a spill.
The spill response involves the following phases:
- Mobilization of the equipment: activation of the resources, and transit times from home stations to scene stations. This refers to the time it takes for response assets to get ready, the crew on board, load equipment, refuel, etc.
- Transit times and auxiliary operations: transit times and auxiliary operations to carry out the activity required. Including transit time from the scene station to the emergency location and deployment equipment (booms, skimmer…). It refers to the response assets traveling to the oil spill with response equipment on board, from the homeport to the spill location.
- Recovery operation: once the system is deployed, the recovery operation is the effective time of active operations (skimming, dispersant application, burning, etc.). Recovery operation will last until its storage capacity or endurance is reached, or working time is ended (daily hours or brake time) and will then stop the operation to start next.
- On Scene Stand by: it refers to the time a vessel is on the scene but not conducting response operations due to night conditions or weather unexpected conditions or taking a break in the middle of continuous deployment.
- Transit up to discharge or unload: this starts when a skimming vessel at capacity departs the scene to offload recovered product or an aircraft transiting to load more dispersant after deploying one load, up to the discharge or unloading point. This time normally includes a time to un-deployment the equipment (skimmer, booms…), before leaving.
- Discharge or Reload operation: it refers to the time to transfer the recovered product to storage platforms. It also accounts for reload of dispersant on a vessel or aircraft. This stage normally includes the time for a crew change, refuelling, or other activities and it last until the vessel/aircraft is ready to start again the transit time back to the oil spill.