Finnish and Swedish aircraft found no oil spills in the Baltic Sea during the intensive surveillance operation carried out on recently. The aircraft patrolled the Gulf of Finland and the central Baltic Sea for 12 hours. Oil spills were also surveyed with the help of the European Maritime Safety Agency' (EMSA) satellite image service.
Intensive aerial surveillance operations are organised regularly as part of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission's (HELCOM) monitoring cooperation programme to combat marine oil spills. Surveillance aircraft from Baltic Sea countries record some 4,000-5,000 flight hours each year as they carry out surveillance of oil spills and ship traffic. The aircraft are equipped with long-range sensing systems that can detect oil spills up to 30 km away from the aircraft's flight path.
Discharging oil or oil-bearing substances into the Baltic Sea is prohibited. The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) seeks to put a complete stop to oil spills in the Baltic Sea by 2021.
With the help of systematic aerial and satellite surveillance and revised legislation, the number of oil spills in the Baltic Sea has been steadily declining since the middle of the 1990s.
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