Bekker Port, which is a key cargo port in Tallinn, Estonia with high levels of ship traffic and 24/7 loading operations, has become first commercial port in the Baltics to be able to continuously detect leaks from every visiting ship in real-time through the installation Remote Optical Watcher (ROW) oil leak detectors at all its mooring points.
In 1974, the Helsinki Convention (HELCOM) was signed by all Baltic Sea states to spur on cooperation and common environmental policies between governments for the protection of the Baltic Sea and in particular, to guard against any and all sources of pollution. This agreement has continued since with each ratifying country making efforts to mitigate and harmonize pollution monitoring efforts. Unfortunately, accidental coastal and maritime pollution can never completely be avoided, let alone the need to deter and prevent deliberate illegal ship discharges at port or passing through coastal waters. Oil spills, whether operational or intentional, are still an unfortunately common and real source of marine pollution today.
Whenever oil leaks or spills occur, early detection is paramount to give authorities the time to respond to the first signs of oil on water – how fast they respond can mean the difference between contained contamination or a full-blown environmental disaster. Personnel should always take precautions, follow procedure and be on alert but modern sensors like ROW can augment and offer autonomous online monitoring alongside existing other safety or security systems such as smoke alarms and cameras. With the installation of ROWs in Bekker Port, these added sensors work 24/7 to amplify the surveillance capabilities established during the night or at remote areas of the port.
This installation is also first to utilize a proprietary radio modem from Laser Diagnostic Instrument (LDI), which offers an enhanced range of up to 300 meters to simplify installation of multiple connected sensors. This is now an available full-package solution with the ROW to offer a streamlined installation oil spill sensor network and the telemetry accessories for data-logging as part of the complete ROW sensor package. When oil is detected, notifications can be raised through appropriate channels to alert key personnel thru SMS or E-mail so that contamination can be contained, oil can be cleaned and disposed of correctly, and authorities are reported about the incident with a full record of the incident.