We know that after our people, our aviation resources are the most vital service we provide, in terms of added value to our Members. Available through a mixture of global and regional models, we can mobilise these resources in support of three key areas; dispersant application, aerial surveillance and logistical support.
We recognise the importance of these services as response enablers, but also as service differentiators.
Wide Area Aerial Dispersant Delivery For many years, we achieved the above using the iconic Hercules L-382 aircraft. This provision helped to differentiate OSRL as a truly global Tier 3 oil spill response provider. The Hercules remains a highly versatile and effective platform, however they are not as widely available as they once were and with significant increases in maintenance costs and demands elsewhere for the Hercules within the aviation industry, other options were investigated. Boeing's triple engine 727 was identified as a suitable alternative due to its high power to weight ratio, cargo capacity, robust design, central engine position and low capital cost. Since then, a project to convert two 727s has been underway. The successful completion of this jet conversion will mark a global first for both the oil spill response and aviation communities alike. The 727 will have the ability to house the Tersus dispersant spray system which has a capacity of 15,000 litres.
The Boeing 727 clearly expresses our vision statement to "exceed the rapidly evolving needs of Members and associated need for broader response capabilities both in terms of geographical scope and technological span".
Aerial Surveillance For Collection Of Key Response Information The collection of data through surveillance, and the analysis and interpretation of that data provides timely information to the Incident Command which improves situational awareness and promotes informed decision making.
- Aerial surveillance has traditionally been the main feed of information from the field during a spill response. This 'eye in the sky' remains central to situational awareness, however as technology improves our surveillance capability is evolving to meet the ever growing demand for timely and accurate information. Surveillance, or 'close observation' provides the all important validation of response strategy and verification of predicated outcomes.
- Oil spill modelling is increasingly relied upon as a strategic planning tool during response and preparedness, which can help inform effective response alongside the real-time feed from surveillance.
- In order for the incident command to make most effective use of the data collected from surveillance and modelling outputs we must be able to 'visualise' as easily interpretable information at a glance.
In this way, the specialisms of surveillance, modelling and visualisation are inextricably linked as an integral part of our mission to provide resources to prepare for and respond to oil spills efficiently and effectively on a global basis.
A key part of our aviation capability is provided through supplementary agreements for specific areas of risk. In 2013, the UKCS service was upgraded.
The upgrade elevated our surveillance and communications capability in the North Sea to a new level. Technological improvements included the addition of a camera that can capture visual, infrared and ultraviolet data feeds. This is partnered with improved communications packages and mission control software, allowing OSRL's trained aerial surveyors to collect, interpret and share key information with Incident Command and operational assets while still airborne.