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September 2012

CALYPSO Project SeaSonde Network: Improving Oil Spill Response Using HF Radar
in the Malta-Sicily Channel

SeaSonde surface currents maps for the Malta System shown in PORTUS. Courtesy of CALYPSO partners.
SeaSonde surface currents maps for the Malta System shown in PORTUS. Courtesy of CALYPSO partners.
Some of the CALYPSO Partners during SeaSonde training  in Malta.
Some of the CALYPSO Partners during SeaSonde training in Malta.

hree SeaSondes will soon be providing realtime surface current maps in the strip of sea dividing Malta and Sicily, for the CALYPSO Project, coordinated by Prof. Aldo Drago from the University of Malta. Two units have already been installed and commissioned on northern Malta (Ta’Barkat and Ta’Sopu), with the final unit scheduled for installation in late October 2012 in southern Sicily (Port of Pozzallo). The CALYPSO radar network also includes latest technology to extend the coverage performance with use of Multi-Static Data Processing Software at one of the sites in Malta. This is intended to extend the area of coverage closer to the Maltese coastline as well as to add redundancy in the conventional backscatter region, thereby increasing current measurement robustness. The network is managed using a state-of-the-art data management platform, which consists of the CODAR Central Management / Data Combining Station and the PORTUS by QUALITAS Marine Information System, providing data retrieval and combining from the radar stations, access to all SeaSonde data outputs (offline or through a web based viewer), powerful data sharing tools like OPEnDAP, ftp or WMS as well as advanced tools for system administration, monitoring and reporting.
CALYPSO primary aim is to support efficient response against marine oil spills in the Malta-Sicily Channel, that is one of the busiest areas of maritime transportation in the Mediterranean, accounting for roughly twenty percent of the world’s oil tanker traffic. An oil spill accident may cause a devastating damage to a small island state like Malta where economic assets and areas of touristic attraction are concentrated in space. Malta’s water desalinization plants are among the most vulnerable to oil spill objects since they provide the country’s major source of fresh water.

The routine acquisition of such spatially widespread, long-term data sets is expected to trigger an unprecedented leap in the economic value of ocean data and information, and will additionally target multiple applications and information users.This project puts Malta and Sicily at the forefront of such initiatives in the Mediterranean and will serve as a stepping stone to expand the system in the future for coverage of the full marine space around the Maltese Islands and the Sicilian perimeter.

CALYPSO brings together three other partners from Malta -Transport Malta, Civil Protection Department and Armed Forces of Malta – and four partners from Sicily – ARPA Sicilia, IAMC-CNR Capo Granitola, Università degli Studi di Palermo (UNIPA) and Università di Catania (CUTGANA). Spanish engineering company Qualitas Remos has been awarded the contract for radar supply, installation, commission and calibration.

More information about this project at -



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