Pollution observation

In an attempt to mitigate the consequences of illicit discharge from vessels, certain countries have invested in surveillance and deterrence strategies and tools.

In the North Sea area for example, airborne surveillance is carried out within the framework of the Bonn Agreement, an agreement for cooperation in dealing with pollution of the North Sea by oil and other harmful substances. The contracting parties to this agreement are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the European Economic Community.

Aerial surveillance is achieved in these States through the coordination of national flight plans, cooperation in areas of mutual interest and the setting up of special flights, such as Tours d’Horizon, Joint Flights and Aerial Surveillance Exercises. Furthermore, surveillance is facilitated through the standardisation of reporting formats (the standard format pollution report is known as a POLREP) and by working together in improving existing systems and developing new techniques to enhance the information obtained.



At national level, France, for example, has chosen to integrate pollution surveillance into aerial patrols by the French Navy and Customs, the latter providing three planes fitted with specialised remote sensing equipment. Thanks to revision of the relevant texts and the creation of specialised courts, France is now one of the most tightly regulated countries in the world in terms of the detection of operational pollution from maritime transport.

Aerial observation of a vessel followed by a polluted wake