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keywords: DRONES, UAS, OIL & GAS monitoring, OIL SPILL, petroleum pollution, ocean & sea, environmental awareness, offshore, DIESEL GASOLINE BUNKER FUEL, marine-pollution


Oil spill response requires significant amounts of high value, robust information to allow decision makers and responders to do the best job possible. Successful oil spill response is based on science, intelligence, experience, and standard techniques and protocols to allow for interpretation of data for decision making. Experience comes from local incidents and through international interaction.

Marine oil spills occur due to releases of crude oil from tankers, offshore platforms, drilling rigs and wells as well as from larger ships. Oil spills have disastrous economical, ecological social and safety consequences and should be handled fast and effectively. Clean-up and recovery from oil spills are difficult and may take weeks, months or even years. Responding to oil spill occurrences demands fast decision making and access to immediate intelligence to reflect the extent of the spill and its characteristics.

Monitoring oil spill is necessary to address concerns raised about its effects and the impact of the associated clean-up response. Oil spill often occur in remote, sensitive and logistically difficult locations in adverse weather and with oil that weathers and changes character over time. All of this requires robust information provided by baseline and post spill monitoring, observation, sampling and science.

ORSOLAR – Ofil's Oil-Spill Remote Sensing Offshore Locating and Recording system is a passive optical sensing scanner and recorder for aerial oil spill surveillance. ORSOLAR is offered with a combination of enhanced data acquisition technologies based on UV & IR and HD imaging:

  • ORSOLAR-UV - an optical detector sensitive to light in the near ultraviolet (UV) range. A compact solution that fits drones
  • ORSOLAR-MS (multiple systems) includes additional infrared (IR) detector sensitive to radiation in the thermal range. A compact system fit for drones.
  • orsolaROM - a full monitoring system in a gimballed payload, for fixed wings and helicopters

ORSOLAR, mounted on UAS or any other conventional surveillance airplane, provides high quality visual information that complies with requirements of organizations and authorities that supervise marine contaminations, manage oil spill emergency and publish guidelines for monitoring offshore marine oil spill.

Information availability and feasibility

ORSOLAR provides immediate, on the fly, visible reliable, correct and relevant information:

  • It can provide responders with an aerial view of an oil spill
  • Provide real-time monitoring information via wireless video streaming
  • It can be used in hard to get areas It is lightweight and portable fit for drones and aircrafts
  • Can be deployed and used in no time Can be used during day and night
  • Provides information about existing oil spills
  • Presents clearly boundaries of slicks and sheens of oil
  • Assists to assess cleaning effectiveness Indicates thickness of oil
  • Preventing — when used routinely can provide immediate information to prevent oil spill disastrous effect of the environment
  • Safety — used remotely from air, carried by either drones, aircrafts or hot air balloons
  • Cost effective solution mainly when in combination with drones
  • Day & Night - the combination of sensors allows complementary information that can be achieved during day and night
  • Pinpointing — locating the exact location of thick and thin layers of oil and boundaries


marine oil spill UV image of oil spill remote monitoring IR image of remote oil spill monitoringoil spill cleaning effectiveness with UV oil spill cleaning effectiveness

Images taken with ORSOLAR showing oil spill as it is seen with a regular camera, with an IR sensor and with a UV sensor.
The lower pictures show sheens where some of the oil has been decomposed into thin layers of oil, as indications of cleaning effectiveness