Please beware that this is NOT a real disaster, this is an exercise


This exercise is NOT an actual real event, this is a large-scale training exercise which has been created to simulate a real-to-life disaster. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate effectiveness of remote sensors and to train personnel in the event of an real oil/chemical spill at sea. The exercise was carried out following state legislation in collaboration with four Irish state organisations - Irish Coast Guard, Irish Defence Forces, Local County Council Office (Clare) and Local Port Company (Shannon Foynes). 


Command Setup in Moneypoint

In response to the grounding of the Marée Noire in the Shannon Estuary, the Irish Coast Guard have established a command command centre at Moneypoint power station where they will manage and direct the response effort.


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In addition, the Irish Naval Service have established a seaborne exclusion zone in the confines around the stricken vessel and the Irish Aviation Authority have put a 15km aerial exclusion zone into effect.


Oil Tracking Model Predicts Dispersion

The Shannon Estuary Anti-Pollution Team in collaboration with SFPC have been operating the OilmapWeb system to accurately track and predict the extent of the spill within the estuary. Data such as location, amount and type of oil, latest wind and current forecasts have been utilised to provide trajectory and weathering results. 




These results have identified the areas that may be impacted by the current spill within the Estuary and can now be linked to the relevant response strategies for those regions. Four oil prediction documents have been released to the various organisations involved - these predict dispersions for +3hrs, +12hrs, +24hrs and +48hrs (from 0900 on the 17th).


These predictions can be updated based on ground truthing data from reote sensors and also updated weather forecasts.


ILV Granuaile and LÉ Orla Tasked to Scene

The Commissioner of Irish Lights' vessel ILV Granuaile and the Irish Naval Service LÉ Orla have been tasked to the scene to assist in operations. These vessels have state-of-the-art systems which can be utilised to manage and coordinate the response.


In addition, ILV Granuaile and LÉ Orla will be used as a launch platform for some of the remote sensor vehicles such as ROV LATIS and AUV Seacon.


Low cost trackers provide live GPS of vessels

A number of low cost GPS tracking devices have been issued to the various ships which are now on scene. These trackers make use of existing mobile phone GSM networks, operating at 900MHZ, and can transmit an updated GPS position to a web based database every 5 seconds. These trackers can be left in position and will relay live data for up to five days.



Trackers have been issued to the LÉ Orla, the Granuaile and the Naval Service Reserve Rhibs and additional trackers are available for other ships that arrive on scene and will be assigned on that basis. It is also possible to place two trackers onboard the stricken vessel (bow and stern) with will not only relay position but also heading.

These data feeds are fed into a live map, available through web address, which is being displayed in realtime at the command centre and will help with visualisation and coordianation.


UAV FULMAR taked for aerial reconnisance

UAV FULMAR has launched from shore and has been tasked to survey the sticken vessel as it lies and also survey the surrounding area. Wind speeds have been recorded during flight at up to 72km/h.


Fulmar Launch1Fulmar Launch2


 The UAV has also been tasked to survey any oil which is visible on the surface, this information will be fed back into simulation models as ground truthing.


Harzardous cargo located and surveyed by ROV Latis

ROV LATIS has located one of the two missing deck cargo containers at a depth of 15MSW. The ROV carried out a search using forward looking sonar configuration, high resolution multibeam mounted at ninety degrees to the seabed, and has located the deck cargo after a couple of minutes. 

 {loadposition barrel-vid}


The use of the forward looking sonar has allowed for distances of up to 120 metres to be mapped with a high degree of accuracy, allowing completion of large area surveys in minimal times.

The sonar and onboard camera video streams from LATIS were transmitted in real time back to the command centre over wifi link, allowing this information to be assessed immediately, ultimately allowing for fast effective response.



Aerial reconnaissance video fed back to command

Live video streams from UAV FULMAR have been relayed through wifi link back to the command centre, allowing for immediate assessment of the situation and ground truthing of the oil. 




Once completed the UAV was safely recoved to ground via a net.


Harzardous cargo located and surveyed by AUV SEACON

AUV Seacon has located the remaining cargo containers at a depth of 15MSW. The AUV carried out a search pattern using onboard side-scan sonar and has located the deck cargo staning upright on the seabed.

Side-scan sonar was employed to complete wide-area search patterns, producing accurate backscatter maps. This data has been recovered from the AUV and have been used to identify and locate the submerged cargo.

All images/data recovered from the AUV can then be sent via wifi back to the command centre. The container below was located at position .


ROV LATIS tasked to survey stricken hull

ROV LATIS was taked to survey the hull of the stricken vessel as it lies. The ROV has used the forward looking sonar to complete this task and the real time video streams from onboard sonar and video has again been relayed back to command.

  {loadposition hull-vid}


 This high resolution sonar data can be assessed to not only give an accurate picture of the intact hull but also give a high resolution image of how the ship lies on the seafloor. Such surveys can be of particular interest when it comes to recovering the vessel or if the vessel is in danger of moving - such as in the case of the Costa Concordia.


Close of operations Day1

1200 - Seaborne and aerial operations have now been closed for the day. Full assessment of the sticken vessel and associated oil and cargo has been completed. 

The command centre will be in operation up until this evening however cleanup operations will not begin until the 18th. Reason being - this is a demonstration, assessment (17th) and response (18th) has been split.