Dubai company to offer spill-detection technology

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, a Dubai marine instrumentation company, is to introduce oil-spill detection technology to the Gulf.

The technology, developed in Canada, will be featured this autumn at the

exhibition, schedule to run from October 26 to 28 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

"The technology works in all weather conditions and at a time when the potential impact of an oil spill is most pertinent," said Emma Hamilton, the marketing manager for the show.

"Environmental issues continue to be a pressing topic and it is fantastic to see both the UAE and the Middle East maritime industry positioning itself as a pioneer for the development of green technology," she added.

The Sigma S6 radar processing system for oil slick detection was developed by Rutter Technologies of St. John's, Newfoundland. 

In a trial two years ago in Norway, the company showed that its system could detect oil on the sea surface from a moving vessel using the conventional marine "X-band" and "S-band" radars currently used by commercial ships.

"Our Sigma S6 radar technology has already proven itself as a valuable resource for ice navigation and in small target detection applications ranging from search and rescue to security. We are extremely pleased that this trial has shown yet another application for the S6," said Byron Dawes, the president of the firm's product division. "Using Rutter's Sigma S6 radar processor, a vessel can now reliably detect and track an oil slick. As well, the technology enables the vessel to track an oil slick at night or in low visibility conditions."

The system could the used to provide early warning of an oil spill from an offshore drilling platform or to help authorities nab vessels that intentionally dump oily waste at sea. Either application could rapidly prove the technology's worth in the region that pumps 40 per cent of the world's crude, much of it from offshore fields.

In June,  Egypt's oil ministry said oil that recently fouled Red Sea beaches was more likely to have come from a passing tanker or to have seeped naturally from the sea bed than to have leaked from an offshore rig. Environmentalists accused the ministry of a cover-up.

Last year and in 2008, tourist beaches in Fujairah were coated with oily sludge on at least three occasions. The slicks that washed ashore were attibuted to oil dumped illegally off the emirate's coast.

The port of Fujairah, on the Arabian Sea, is the world's second busiest bunkering port after Singapore, providing refuelling and other services to trans-ocean shipping.
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