DOLPHIN will improve vessel discrimination and trajectory projection capabilities leading to reduced collision risk.
The Traffic Safety policy area concerns the protection of ships and their passengers. Highly crowded sea areas and sensitive routes need to be monitored in order to:
- prevent death, injury and damages resulting from both ship collisions and environmental hazards;
- take countermeasures against piracy and the transportation of hazardous goods.
The policy background of this area is made up of a set of legislative measures on maritime safety adopted in 2009 by the European Commission (the Third Maritime Safety Package, also referred to as ERIKA III). ERIKA III addresses several topics including port state control, traffic monitoring and accident investigation. The measures aim to deter potential unscrupulous operators or maritime players by introducing stricter requirements, such as:
- improvements to the ports’ state control regimes, allowing Member States to ban ships that repeatedly fail inspections;
- increased electronic data handling on ship’s movements and vessel traffic monitoring, such as the implementation of LRIT;
- standard procedures for conducting investigations into maritime casualties and improved exchange of information on the results of investigations.
A further major requirement is the mitigation of risks concerning the safety of small and, in particular, fishing vessels outside the scope of the 1993 Torremolinos Protocol for the Safety of Fishing Vessels, which only regulates vessels longer than 24 metres.
Information from Earth Observation will be combined with coastal radar and other in-situ data and the results compared with the situation reported using other means (such as terrestrial and satellite AIS, VMS, LRIT etc). Coastal radar has an important role in accident avoidance applications as it allows real-time monitoring, but it has limited range and target discrimination capability.
Earth Observation provides an extended range and can supply more information about a target. Two types of satellite data are particularly interesting for this DOLPHIN policy area:
- medium or low resolution images, to be acquired through strategic planning along sensitive routes and over the areas of interest, in order to decrease the risk of accidents by using heading and speed information (possibly through wake detection) for detected targets;
- high resolution images in the area of interest to detect and classify smaller targets.