Marine Pollution

Along the years MARETEC has been involved in multiple studies related to real pollution incidents, exercises and international projects dealing with fate and behaviour of oil, inert and chemical spills in aquatic environments.

IN 2003, during the Prestige spill crisis, and in cooperation with Meteogalicia, MARETEC implemented an operational oil spill modelling system, providing support to manage shoreline response teams to the potentially affected areas.

European research projects like EROCIPS, DRIFTER, EASYCO, ARCOPOL, ARCOPOL+, ISDAMP and ARCOPOLplatform allowed the group to build sustainable knowledge and experience, methodologies and technologies needed to support decision makers in a better management of marine resources and in the prevention and response to marine pollution with oil, inert and chemical spills. Along the time, MARETEC has been involved in the development and validation of a state-of-the-art fully 3D fate and behaviour spill modelling software inside MOHID, not only to simulate oil spills, but also chemical spills, as well as floating containers, wreckage, or small boats. Following the same development strategy, new and innovative model-supported software tools were also designed, created and implemented. Most of them were transferred to real-life situations and operational structures, and applied in different regions of the world (e.g. Aquasafe Oil Spill Simulator; MOHID Studio with Dynamic Risk Assessment tool plugin).

MARETEC also performs field work exercises with surface drifting buoys and rhodamine in order to calibrate and validate local transport models.

The direct connection with international, national, and local maritime authorities allowed the research group to clearly understand the needs from the decision makers when dealing with this kind of pollution incidents. A scientific cooperation agreement was established in 2014 between MARETEC and EMSA – European Maritime Security Agency in the scope of oil spill modelling activities and connection to CLEANSEANET (automatic oil spill satellite-detection service). MARETEC cooperates actively with DGAM – Portuguese Maritime Authority, participating in multiple oil spill drills and exercises in the Portuguese coast along the last years. The decision support tools for oil spill modelling purposes developed by MARETEC are also installed and tested by DGAM. Lisbon Port also has cooperation with MARETEC – last common activity was the execution of exercises with booms in Lisbon area.