Towards improved and new antipollution techniques

Interview of Alain Verdeaux, Local Coordinator, Prefecture of the Mediterranean Sea - French State

As the public authority responsible for antipollution at sea in case of maritime accidents, what operational applications do you foresee for the tools developed by the TOSCA project?

"In its current state of development, TOSCA represents a real potential for progress in antipollution management in case of maritime accidents and oil spills. TOSCA offers new approaches and new tools to facilitate the location and monitoring of slicks and operational decision-making by the authorities concerned. For example, the use of HF Radar to provide more precise and up-to-date knowledge of surface currents constitutes definite progress in the monitoring of slicks. This will help authorities to determine the strategy to follow in the deployment of floats used to monitor drift pathways. The innovative approach of the TOSCA project to improve the numerical models also represent a notable advance in terms of forecasting the drift pathways oil slicks might take. They may also be applied in the framework of a search and rescue (S&R) operation to locate a person lost at sea. More precise knowledge of drifts allows to focus the research on a smaller area so as to deploy what are necessarily limited search and antipollution resources more effectively. Moreover, the use of drifters and HF radars in the way suggested by TOSCA means that searches and monitoring can be carried out both at night and day without pause. This is something that is particularly useful when relocating the position of an oil slick with certainty to prevent its unexpected arrival on a section of coast that has not be alerted."

What are the next steps to be taken after the TOSCA project?

"The outcomes and tools developed by the TOSCA project should bring about changes in antipollution warfare strategies and techniques. First of all we have to look at how to respond more precisely to the fundamental questions raised by authorities in charge of antipollution warfare. Where is the oil slick? What changes is it undergoing and where is it going to hit the shore? This might, for example, call for the more systematic use of drifters in greater numbers or the acquisition of mobile HF radars and their timely deployment on threatened coastlines. It may also see the co-option of TOSCA experts onto drift committees set up by maritime or coastal authorities. Some of the possible applications of TOSCA approaches and tools to antipollution warfare techniques are presented in this guide. Apart from the pursuit of scientific research, the impact of the TOSCA project going forward very much depends on recognition for the project as an operational tool for dealing with maritime accidents by the government bodies of partner states."

Other TOSCA recommendations include:

  • Provision and training of oil-spill-type-drifters for oil-spill events and CODE-type drifters for search and rescue operations.
  • Automation of TOSCA system, including LAVA algorithm and the GIs for real time monitoring.
  • Integration of the TOSCA in the main antipollution exercises in the frame of agreements between members States of the UE.
  • Enter TOSCA in contingency plans.
  • Integration of the TOSCA partners in the network of pollution control experts.
  • Participate in the discussions conducted by authorities in charge of the antipollution policies to make sure they provide the appropriate means.
  • Enable TOSCA’s tools to be taken into account and financed by the EMSA to fight against accidental pollution incidents. 

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Authoritites Point of view: Alexandroupolis' demonstration exercise

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Authoritites Point of view: How TOSCA can be a relevant tool for antipollution control

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