TIP 1 - Aerial Observation of Marine Oil Spills

Strategy for aerial observation

At the outset of an incident, reports from reconnaissance fights are often vital to establish the nature and scale of the pollution. Where appropriate, arrangements for fights should be made as a high priority in the initial stages of a response. The strategy for aerial observation and contact details of appropriate agencies and aircraft operators should be key entries in relevant contingency plans.

Following initial mobilisation, subsequent fights should be made regularly (Figure 1). These are commonly timed at the beginning or end of each day, so that the results can be used at decision meetings to plan response operations. The fights, including their time-tabling and fight paths, should be coordinated to avoid unnecessary duplication between agencies. As the pollution situation is brought under control the need for fights will reduce and come to an end.

Safety considerations are paramount and the aircraft pilot should be consulted on all aspects of the reconnaissance operation prior to departure. Those taking part in a fight should be regularly and thoroughly briefed beforehand on the safety features of the aircraft and procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency. Suitable personal protective equipment, such as life jackets, should be available and used.

The full document is available for download below.


  • 8431 - TIP 1 Aerial Observation of Marine Oil Spills 21 MB


    Download PDF

Staff Author