News

18/05/2010

OIL PATCHES IN RAVENNA’S OPEN SEA – ALL UNITS AT WORK TO RECOVER OIL SPILL AND PREVENT BEACH POLLUTION

        

 

The Coastguard and local company Secomar have been engaged in anti-pollution operations since yesterday afternoon due to large oil patches located about 10 miles off Casalborsetti, a point not far from the Agostino C platform.
The news came by radio from a leisure craft which was sailing in the area and was promptly forwarded to the Coastguard patrol boat 274, which reached the affected area and provided the necessary information to the Operations Room in order to evaluate and plan the recovery operations.
Two of the three main oil patches which were described as dark, dense and sticky, extended over an area of 800 and 500 meters respectively.

Samples were immediately taken and submitted for laboratory analysis. Following the request made by the Ministry of Environment to use its anti-pollution vessels, Secomar provided its naval flagship unit “Secomar Quattro”, which is based in Ravenna and equipped with floating booms, skimmers and anti-pollution products.
The use of an ATR 42 Coastguard aircraft “Manta 10-02” was also requested, which although it had departed from Pescara on a mission to Trieste, it reversed its course and headed to the affected area, in order to carry out with the help of its sophisticated thermal equipment and infrared Silar system, remote detection readings of the coastal stretch between Goro and Cattolica and up to 40 miles offshore.
Fortunately, the oil patches slowly moved away from the coast and beaches in a North-East direction thus averting an immediate danger for swimming.
The clean-up operation, particularly of the thickest oil patch continued until late at night, allowing for the recovery of about 50 cubic meters of oil.

Following the completion of the Coastguard’s Manta patrol run, it was possible to establish the absence of additional oil patches so as to concentrate the operations at the points already reached by the naval units.
At the break of dawn, a second Coastguard naval unit resumed the patrolling of the sea area concerned in order to intercept the remaining oil patches. With the support of Bologna’s Fire Brigade helicopter, it was possible to spot the remaining oil patches which during the night were after moving further adrift and out into the open sea up to 18 miles North-East from the port of Ravenna.
The Coastguard thus once again requested the use of the Secomar 4 unit and the Coastguard’s
Manta aircraft in order to run another patrol check of a wider stretch of sea between Pescara and Porto Tolle.
The overflight however ruled out the presence of additional patches.
The recovery operations led by the Coastguard are still ongoing and an investigation has been opened to explain the causes and find the culprits behind the oil spill.