Military sensors could track oil spills

The oil can be traced back to individual tankers and fines can be applied; GCC in talks
Military sensors could track oil spills
Four Gulf states are in talks with US weapons maker Raytheon to acquire military sensors to track tankers leaking oil along the region’s coastline.
By Shane McGinley
Mon 09 Jul 2012 08:32 AM

Four Gulf states are in talks with US weapons maker Raytheon to acquire military sensors to track tankers leaking oil along the region’s coastline, the Middle East head of the firm has told Arabian Business.

“We are in discussions with at least four countries right now to cover this,” Kevin Massengill, vice president and regional executive for US-based Raytheon, said.

“Without this kind of technology you will have people who will dump their ballast, to lighten their load, at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf. With this you can trace it back to the individual boat and assess fines properly and you can keep that behaviour at a minimum,” he added.

Billions of dollars worth of oil passes through the Gulf every day and governments are increasingly looking to crack down on the environmental impact the trade has on the region’s coastlines.

“The coastline in a lot of these regions, the Emirates is a great example, look at how many ships are sitting out at harbour each day, hundreds,” James Hvizd, vice president of space and airborne systems at Raytheon, told Arabian Business in an interview last year.

“The Ministry of Environment there has made it very clear over the years [it wants to tackle the environmental issue]. It is an exciting times to take our technology and work those issues,” he added.

While such technological advances are welcomed by environmental groups, there is also a financial motivation behind the move.

UBS estimates that economic losses during the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which saw 4.9 million barrels of oil spill into the sea in 2010, were as high as $12bn.

Raytheon technology was used in the cleanup operation in the US and Hvizd said such technology can now be adopted for use in the Arabian Gulf.

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