Illegal discharges under joint surveillance in the Baltic and North Seas
Aircraft from six countries from Baltic Sea (HELCOM) and North Sea (Bonn) areas carried out a joint international aerial surveillance operation, classified until finish, with the purpose of detecting illegal discharges at sea starting on 9 June, HELCOM said in its press release.
The operation hosted by the Danish Defence Command resulted with only one observation of a minor discharge of vegetable oil and another spot of an unknown substance detected in the 62,000 sq km operation area over Skagerrak and Kattegat during 42 total flight hours.
The 2015 Super CEPCO - Coordinated Extended Pollution Control Operation – was participated by Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway and Sweden. Such coordinated assignment is a regular biannual effort of the HELCOM member states, this time conducted jointly with the Bonn Agreement and with the Danish Defence Command Air Station Aalborg (EKYT) as a base.
The purpose of the operation is to continuously survey the selected area where there is a high probability of illegal discharges, to identify, record, document and report the detected pollutions and polluters and to improve co-operation between participating HELCOM and Bonn Agreement Contracting Parties.
High-intensity operations like CEPCO supplement the regular day-to-day aerial control operations in the region which aim at creating a realistic picture of the level of compliance to the anti-pollution regulations in the Baltic area.
Since the timing of the HELCOM CEPCOs is randomly selected, the operation is intense and strictly confidential until the entire operation is over, the results are assumed to reflect the realistic situation of discharges in the Baltic Sea.
CEPCO operations have several objectives, such as to survey continuously high density traffic areas with a high risk of illegal discharges; identify and catch the polluters; practise communication between aircraft, patrol vessels and the Command Centres involved; improve cooperation between countries; and exchange experiences between crews.