IMEDEA scientists participate in a campaign for the prevention of maritime risks in the Strait of Gibraltar


  • Experts from different institutions, monitor in real time the trajectory of buoys and perform numerical simulations with oil spill models.
  • From 9th September will be held in the Strait of Gibraltar area the oceanographic campaign with drifter buoys most ambitious ever performed in Spanish waters.


Mallorca, 9th September 2014. The Strait is one of the areas with the largest shipping traffic and a hot spot in terms of the number of Search and Rescue operations at sea. In the area the Port of Bahía de Algeciras is located which recorded a traffic of 91.1 million Tons and 4.35 million TEUs in 2013. Due to this intense traffic, the area presents a high potential oil spill risk, showing at the same time a significant environmental value, including important extension of protected areas. Furthermore, the Gibraltar Strait is an area of ??high scientific interest for their uniqueness from an oceanographical point of view. Here, occurs the water exchanges between the Atlantic and Mediterranean basins and extremely high current speeds regimes are observed. Therefore, it is of special interest to increase our knowledge on dynamics of these waters, as well as to test our model prediction capabilities in terms of oil spill, objects or people drifting in a so complex and relevant socio-economic area.

To this end, the 9th September will start an oceanographic campaign consisting on releasing 36 drifter buoys, the largest number ever used in an exercise of these characteristics in Spanish waters. To this aim, 4 boats (3 units of SASEMAR and a ship provided by the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras) will be available. The buoy platforms will be provided by IMEDEA, ICM-CSIC and Puertos del Estado.

During the Exercise (from 9th to 11th September 2014), a team, combining experts from the involved Institutions will be setting-up in-situ in the Port of Algeciras to monitor the drifter tracks. This Unit will put in context the real-time measurements with other existing information provided by other operational oceanographic services existing in the area (i.e. the HF-Radar and the measurement and forecast local services from the SAMPA Project of the AP of Algeciras Bay and Puertos del Estado). Additionally, ad hoc numerical simulations will be carried out with oil spill models through the MEDESS-4MS services.

This MEDESS-GIB Exercise is part of the activities developed in the framework of the MEDESS-4MS Project. This project is dedicated to the prevention of risks and strengthening maritime security in relation to oil spills in the Mediterranean, aiming to build an integrated tool of different oil spill models using as forcing existing operational met-ocean data. The inclusion in the tool of real-time information enhances the great value that MEDESS-4MS service may have in early detection and support on crisis related to oil spills at sea. The MEDESS-4MS project is an EU MED Program Project, which aims to improve the competitiveness and territorial cohesion in the Mediterranean regions according to a logic of sustainable development.



More information Puertos del Estado: Emilio Gómez Fernández (Press Officer)