Ship-to-ship transfer spill involving the Russian aircraft carrier admiral Kuznetsov

Requesting Authority: Irish Coast Guard.

Country: Ireland.

Date: February 2009.


In areas regularly covered by the CleanSeaNet service, significant pollution is not likely to go unnoticed. Consequently, it becomes more and more risky for ship masters not to report accidental spills that they may have caused. The detection by CleanSeaNet of an unreported spill during a ship-to-ship operation off Ireland in February 2009, and subsequent cooperation with the Irish authorities, is a good illustration of this.

An Irish Coast Guard helicopter confirmed an oil spill off the Irish coast, and concluded that it was probably due to a refuelling-at-sea incident involving the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. Initial estimates put the spill at around 1 000 tonnes, but further aerial surveillance by the Irish and British maritime authorities concluded that it was in the region of 400-500 tonnes. On 17 February 2009, a CleanSeaNet image showed that the slick had expanded to 8 x 1km and had drifted around 30km East-North-East of the original position. The spill was closely monitored until it naturally dispersed without hitting the coastline. Fifteen SAR images were acquired between 14 February and 8 March 2009 to monitor the affected area.


csn_case_admiral_kuznetsovPhoto taken by the Irish Coast Guard