MEDESS-4MS (Mediterranean Decision Support System for Marine Safety) is dedicated to the maritime risks prevention and strengthening of maritime safety related to oil spill pollution in the Mediterranean. MEDESS-4MS will deliver an integrated operational multi model oil spill prediction service in the Mediterranean, connected to existing monitoring platforms (CSN, AIS), using the well established oil spill modeling systems, the data from the Marine Core Services and the national ocean forecasting systems.

Theme of the Project

MEDESS-4MS will set up an integrated real time operational oil spill forecasting service for the Mediterranean for national response agencies, REMPEC and EMSA. The multi-model oil spill forecasting system is composed of environmental information from the GMES Marine Service and the national ocean forecasting systems interfaced with oil slick data from existing monitoring platforms from EMSA CSN, as well with AIS data. It will use the real time information about position of the oil slick, interface it with oil spill models capable to forecast the movement of the pollution providing tailored products to oil spill crisis management users, contributing substantially to maritime risks prevention and maritime safety.

Strategic Impacts

The MEDESS-4MS service will improve maritime risks prevention, maritime safety, ecosystem protection and will assist the operational response agencies to implement the Directive 2005/35/EC on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements and therefore it will support the operational response agencies contingency plans by providing validated risk mapping. MEDESS-4MS is designed to serve the needs of international and European organizations, the Mediterranean operational responsible agencies defined by REMPEC and Member State operational responsible agencies as defined by EMSA. Most of the partners are operating forecasting centers, within the framework of MCS and at national level, and providing individual oil spill predictions at local and sub-regional level, while other partners are response agencies to oil spill incidents. Therefore, the partners experience and their long existing collaboration with REMPEC, EMSA and local response agencies will ensure the sustainability of the integrated multi model oil spill prediction service long after the end of the project.

MEDESS-4MS main elements, such as the integrated data repository, users interfaces for service scenarios to regional and local response agencies, etc, can be easily adapted for other European seas, such as the Black and Baltic seas, where ocean forecasting systems, oil spill detection platforms and oil spill models integrated with forecasts are already in place in a disconnected way.

“Between August 1977 and December 2011, approximately 310,000t of oil were spilled in the Mediterranean Sea whilst 572 significant incidents that caused or were likely to cause oil pollution of the Mediterranean Sea were reported to REMPEC.

The explosion and fire on board of the MT HAVEN off Genoa, followed by the sinking of the ship with its cargo of 144.000 tonnes of crude oil, in 1991, is considered the largest oil spill incident in the Mediterranean region.


Oil spills in the Mediterranean
“According to the Statistical analysis of the Alerts and accidents database of REMPEC, most accidents involving oil occurs during autumn and winter, seasons known to be less favourable to navigation in terms of sea conditions. Grounding is the most significant type of accident in terms of number of accidents recorded; however spills above 700t are mainly due to collisions.”

based on REMPEC statistical data