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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Luso-Spanish naval exercise testing new tool to combat sea pollution

Caminha, Viana do Castelo, Sept. 24, 2020 (Lusa) - A Luso-Spanish virtual exercise taking place until Friday between the coast of Vigo, in Galicia, and Leixões, in Porto, promoted by the Portuguese Navy, will result in a tool to combat maritime pollution to be presented in 2021.
"It is a decision support tool, based on a set of mathematical models to predict the path that the harmful agent, whatever it may be, will take to the surface of the ocean, depending on the meteorological conditions and that will allow us to act more accurately," explained Commander Carlos Fernandes today.
The head of the Oceanographic Division of the Hydrographic Institute (IH) of the Navy pointed to the shipwreck of the tanker Prestige, off Galicia, in November 2002, as an example of the importance of the new tool.
"When the oil slicks from the Prestige appeared on the surface, the governments of Portugal and Spain needed to know where they were heading in order to act. The new decision tool we are preparing, based on new mathematical models, will allow us to make forecasts of the product's trajectory more accurately," specified Commander Carlos Fernandes.
The virtual exercise 'Oil Spill' is taking place in the coastal area between Vigo and Leixões (Matosinhos, Porto) and is promoted by the Hydrographic Institute (IH) of the Navy, in partnership with the Technological Institute for the Control of the Marine Environment of Galicia (INTECMAR) and the Vigo Sea Technological Center (CETMAR).
The creation of this tool is one of the main conclusions of the exercise, which were presented this morning in the Noble Hall of the Caminha Council.
The new "decision support tool", to be presented "in the summer of 2021", results from the international projects MELOA, RADAR-ON-RAIA and MYCOAST, financed by community funds from cross-border cooperation programs (INTERREG and POCTEP) that contribute to boosting the infrastructure for observation and product development to support the scientific community and population in general".
"The MELOA project involves partners from Portugal, Spain, Ireland and France, RADAR-ON-RAIA is developed by Portuguese and Spanish entities and MYCOAST involves more than 14 partners from different countries. Through the combination of the actions of the three projects, it will be possible to compare and validate the predictions of drift of polluting agents," explained Carlos Fernandes.
"The financing of the three projects ends in mid 2021 and, at that time, we will have to have a robust, tested and validated decision support tool that can be used in case of accident or as risk prevention and that we can present to the entities that manage the mitigation of risks of the Portuguese coast", he said.
"Northern Portugal and Galicia, given the strong anthropogenic pressure combined with high activity and maritime traffic, are areas of high risk and potential spills of hazardous materials.
"It is essential to carry out simulations and exercises that have made it possible to safeguard, monitor and mitigate risks of potential disasters through the development of decision support tools," he said.
This cross-border exercise "aims to operationalize this type of tool using various types of drift buoys launched at different distances from the coast, all of them exempt from the action of the wind in order to follow exclusively the local surface current".
The drifting buoys "transmit their positions in real time by feeding the mathematical prediction models built on top of several layers of information, such as the high resolution bathymetry collected by the IH," he concluded.
The main objective "is to compare the actual trajectory with that predicted by the models and realize what adjustments must be made".

Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-09-25 09:22:47


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