Oil Slick Detected in Sudan Waters, Hunt to Track the Responsible Ship

Photo credit: SkyTruth

SkyTruth, a conservation technology nonprofit, has detected a likely oil slick of more than 250km long in Sudan waters, which was probably discharged from a moving vessel. SkyTruth is now trying to track down the responsible ship for the oil slick.  

On May 19, 2023, Sentinel-2 satellite images detected the slick, more than 250 kilometers long, in the Red Sea to the east of Dungunab.

According to SkyTruth, rough preliminary estimates of the slick volume equates to a volume of at least 120,000 gallons, assuming a 1-micron-thick slick on average.

The strong spectral signature of this slick on the Sentinel-2 image indicates that in many places it is actually much thicker than 1 micron.

“The unusually large size and volume of this slick suggests it could be the result of tank washing by a petrochemical tanker, rather than bilge discharge from a cargo ship,” SkyTruth suggested in a post on social media.

Out of 94 AIS vessel tracks transiting the region in the 12 hours preceding the slick, SkyTruth winnowed the potential sources down to four ships.

SkyTruth based its analysis on the following assumptions:

1. The polluting vessel was not running dark; it was broadcasting Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) signals.

2. The vessel AIS track closely follows the slick as it appears on image and a Sentinel1 radar image taken just 4.5 hours earlier. The slick has not drifted appreciably since it was discharged from the vessel.

3. The AIS track shows it had moved beyond the footprint of the images when the satellite passed overhead. The vessel responsible for this slick is not visible on the image, as SkyTruth says.

SkyTruth is a conservation technology nonprofit that “inspires people to protect the planet by using satellite imagery, big data, and the latest technological innovations to reveal environmentally damaging actions,” as it is described in social media.

Disclaimer for podcasts and articles

When you view, access or otherwise use our podcasts or articles, you acknowledge the application of this disclaimer:

Shipping Telegraph ApS provides no warranty, guarantee or representation as to the accuracy or sufficiency of the information featured in our podcasts or articles. The information, opinions, recommendations, content, etc. presented in our podcasts or articles are for information purposes only and do not constitute or replace professional advice. Any reliance you may place on the information provided in our podcast or articles is strictly at your own risk.

Unless it is specifically stated, Shipping Telegraph ApS does not approve, recommend or certify any product, process, service, organization, etc. presented or mentioned in our podcasts or articles. Any third-party materials, advertisements or content of any third-party referenced in our podcasts or articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions, standard or policies of Shipping Telegraph ApS, and Shipping Telegraph ApS cannot be held accountable hereof. Shipping Telegraph ApS is not responsible or liable for the accuracy, completeness or compliance with applicable laws of any third-party material, advertisements and content.

Shipping Telegraph ApS shall not be responsible for any errors or omissions contained in the podcasts, the articles or the website used to gain access hereto and reserves the right to make changes without notice. Shipping Telegraph ApS makes no warranty that our podcasts or articles, or the server making them available, are free of viruses, worms, etc.

Shipping Telegraph ApS expressly disclaims any and all liability or responsibility for any direct, indirect, punitive, incidental, consequential or other damages or other claims arising out of or in connection with any individual's and business entity's use of, reference to, reliance on our podcasts or articles or the information presented herein. By ticking the box, I agree with the disclaimer above.