News & Events

February 2011

Costa Concordia: MyOcean on alert to help control potential oil spill

News and Events - March 19, 2012

When the cruiser Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian coast in January 2012, MyOcean started to provide the Italian Coast Guard Operational Centre with daily valuable information on currents in the Mediterranean Sea.

On January 13th, 2012, only hours after leaving the Italian port of Civitavecchia, the Costa Concordia cruise ship with more than 4,200 passengers and crew on board, hit a rocky outcrop and ran aground and rolled onto its side as it sailed off the island of Giglio leading to the heavy loss of life we know.


Italian Authorities (Coast Guards and Civil Protection) immediately reacted by deploying important SAR (Search and Rescue) and risks mitigation measures including environmental risks. With more than 2,400 tons of fuel in its tanks, questions immediately raised about the potential environmental impact if the fuel draining fails. A spillage would pollute Tuscan Archipelago National Park, one of the most beautiful maritime areas in the Mediterranean Sea.


As of January 13th, when the cruiser Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian coast, MyOcean started to provide the Italian Coast Guard Operational Centre with daily valuable information on currents in the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to these daily data, and coupling them with the oil spill model, a fuel leak can be simulated for forecasting the possible fuel dispersion into the sea and along the coast. This information is crucial for helping local Maritime authorities to be better prepared in setting up prevention measures and optimising cleaning operations.


Though hypothetical, an oil spill scenario still cannot be totally discarded. MyOcean forecasting products in the Mediterranean Sea produced by MyOcean’s member INGV (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia) have been coupled with an oil spill model MEDSLIK-II of INGV for simulating the propagation of the oil into the sea. The oil spill forecasting system based on MyOcean products and MEDSLIK-II is run by INGV who produces daily oil spill bulletin. Moreover the oil spill forecasting system was already installed at Italian Coast Guard premises’ so that they produce themselves daily the oil spill bulletin.


Today, the cruiser's tanks still keep a few hundreds of tons of oil on board (a part of it has been yet extracted from the ship) but the Italian Coast Guards must be ready to react at any moment until all the fuel has been extracted from the tanks.

This forecasting analysis of oil spill drift efficiently illustrates an added-value activity downstream to the MyOcean Service. Its dissemination is managed by the Italian Coast Guard and complements other European services (e.g. oil spill detection and monitoring from EMSA, the European Maritime Safety Agency).
 

Costa Concordia expected route from Civitavecchia

Legend: Costa Concordia expected route from Civitavecchia.
(Illustration by courtesy of Italian Coast Guard)

Capsized Costa Concordia

Legend: While giving a top priority to their Safe and Rescue activities, Italian Authorities also care about the environmental impact. (Illustration by courtesy of Italian Coast Guard)

MyOcean data coupled with the INGV oil spill model

Legend: To count on predictive elements allow the Italian authorities to immediately react in case a leak occurred.(Illustration based on MyOcean data/by courtesy of INGV)