The scope of challenge 3 Oil Platform Leak is to give rapid information on the oil movement and coastal impacts after a DG MARE request. The EMODNet Oil Platform Leak (OPL) Bulletin has been implemented in order to fulfill this scope.

  • To produce oil spill predictions for the whole Mediterranean Sea making use of well-established oil spill modelling systems from oceanographic national services, of existing oil spill monitoring platforms and environmental data;
  • To deliver an OPL-Bulletin within 24 hours from the time of receipt of an oil slick alert. The OPL-Bulletin will contain information on the likely oil spill trajectory and the statistical likelihood that coastal habitats and coastal activities will be impacted by the oil spill;
  • To contribute to the data collection framework for checkpoint information and report assessment results in the data adequacy reports.


The OPL-Bulletin contains the forecast/scenario information on the fate and transport of the oil. It uses the most updated information on winds, currents and waves from operational oceanographic and meteorological forecasting models in the slick local area and a weekly forecast/scenario for the specific case.

To submit an oil slick alert, DG-MARE must complete the online Request Form with the specific input data:

  • Oil platform position (lat, lon)
  • Date and time of the leak
  • Depth of the leak
  • Type of oil (API or oil type name)
  • Rate of leakage or total amount of oil leaked
  • Duration of leakage
  • Forecast simulation length

The OPL-Bulletin is provided by e-mail within 24-72 hours, depending on working week days, using a pre-defined template.

Two oil transport and transformation models are used to produce the OPL-Bulletin:

  1. MEDSLIK run by UCY http://www.oceanography.ucy.ac.cy/research/oil-spill-modeling/medslik/
  2. MEDSLIK-II run by INGV http://medslikii.bo.ingv.it/


Data Sources

The production of the OPL-Bulletin relies on the availability of high-resolution meteo-oceanographic forecasts and analyses for the Mediterranean Sea (including winds, currents, Stokes drift and SST) provided through CMEMS (Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service) portal and other national forecasting systems.

The input characteristics are:

  • Horizontal velocity of the water column (currents)
  • Temperature of the water column
  • Wind velocity components
  • Wave direction (not compulsory)

Additional data sets are required in order to evaluate the spill impacts. Layers of information from human activities, the Marine Protected Areas and the coastal habitats provided through EMODNet Human Activities portal are used. The input characteristics are:

  • Seabed substrate
  • Marine and coastal infrastructures
  • Mariculture
  • MPAs
  • Transport routes
  • Use of coastal areas

Browse Data Source

Targeted Products

Two Targeted Products have been produced:

  • MEDSEA_CH3_Product_1: OPL Bulletin released after a DG MARE request received by email on the 28th of July 2014, containing the notification of two oil leaks:

“The drillship “Magna Belgica” in the wider area of ‘Caliph prospect’ off the coast of Libya encountered a technical failure. A fire and crude oil leak began immediately. The spill was contained for the duration of 5 hours with total of 50 tons crude oil loss at sea surface. After initial repairs the vessel set sail for inspection in Naples. Reaching the strait of Messina around 06:15 CET this morning, the drillship experienced engine and rudder failure leading to a collision with a cargo ship. The drillship was heavily damaged and lost a total load of 2000 tons of diesel fuel oil by 10:20 CET.”

View details here.

Full description and quality information: http://dx.doi.org/10.12770/b5820518-46f9-403a-927e-88af1a215956

  • MEDSEA_CH3_Product_2: OPL Bulletin released after the DG MARE alert received by email on the 10th of May 2016 about the following situation:

“In August 2013 an incident occurred during a tanker loading operation at a buoy off the coast of the Sidi Kerir terminal of the Sumed pipeline (LAT: 31,130824; LON: 29,75227) with an estimated rate of 5000m3 Brent crude oil spilled during a period of 24 hours starting 8:15 CET on 13/08/2013. The accident went largely unattended in the aftermath of the 2013 Egyptian Coup d’état during a period of unrest and instability.”

View details here

Full description and quality information: http://dx.doi.org/10.12770/8232a28b-04e3-49a1-871c-fda24b4490ca

This exercise was part of stress test on marine data, launched on 10/05/2016, when all the Checkpoint Oil Leak Challenges were asked to assess the impact of simulated oil spills in six European sea basins. All of them managed to deliver assessments of the fate of the oil – dispersed, floating, evaporated, beached, despite the short notice. An overview of all spills can be found at the maritime forum web page here.

Final Challenge ReportMedSea Checkpoint Challenge 4 (Oil Platform Leak): Description of Targeted Products, the methodology and the expert evaluation of fitness for purpose
How to Cite: “Simoncelli, S., Zodiatis, G., & Pinardi, N. (2017). EMODnet MedSea CheckPoint Challenge 3 (Oil Platform Leaks) Report. European Marine Observation and Data Network. https://doi.org/10.25423/cmcc/medsea_checkpoint_challenge3

Please contact back-end-medsea-ckpt@cls.fr for further information on products.

Team Involved

Simona Simoncelli (INGV), Nadia Pinardi (INGV), George Zodiatis (OC-UCY)