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Aerial observation and identification of oil on water

This course is designed for marine pollution responders who may be part of an aircrew to investigate and report on an oil spill.

These modules cover planning the mission, observation and identification of oil, and the follow up activites after the mission.

Module 1—the mission 

This module has been developed to provide an understanding of how to prepare for an aerial observation mission.

You will learn about:

  • The nature and purpose of an aerial observation mission.
  • The preparation and planning considerations of the mission.
  • How to effectively participate as an aerial observer, meeting all requirements, including safety considerations.

Module 2—oil and oil products

This module has been developed to assist you to identify types of oil and recognise how they react in water. 

You will learn:

  • How to identify different types of oil and how they react in water.
  • How to apply the Bonn Agreement Oil Appearance Code to:
    • use a standardised method to describe the oil you have observed
    • identify oil on water
    • determine false positives
    • estimate oil spill coverage

Module 3—oil spill observation 

This module has been developed to provide an understanding of how to find and confirm an oil spill location using aerial search techniques.

It describes:

  • The practical considerations of aerial observation.
  • How to collect information using the correct procedures.

Module 4—recording and reporting

This module provides key activities to be undertaken for:

  • recording
  • reporting
  • complying with records management procedures
  • debriefing at the end of missions.

At the end of this module, you will understand procedures for:

  • Sourcing and completing an aerial surveillance log.
  • How to record appropriate information on maps and charts.
  • How to take relevant images.
  • How to record and store images.
  • Participating in a debriefing session at the end of the mission.
Last updated: 17 December 2020