Collaboration for Oil Satellite Tracking in the Americas (COSTA)
Background and Rationale
The Wider Americas Region, including the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, renowned for its pristine ocean and robust tourism, have faced the challenges of many oil spill incidents or near misses from both oil producing facilities and vessels in recent years. On the other hand, satellite remote sensing is a proven and effective way to detect and characterize oil spill and publicly available free satellite imagery to monitor the spill are available.
The COSTA program is an international effort supported by GEO, IOC-UNESCO’s Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions and the United Nations Environment Programme to train and coordinate a region wide satellite monitoring and analysis program to help with oil spill prevention, early mitigation and response in the Americas. During its pilot phase, the first oil spill monitoring program in the region became operational in the island country of Trinidad and Tobago since July 2021. Training opportunities to learn about satellite oil spill monitoring using mostly freely available satellite optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery and GIS tools are now underway with other countries in the region, and are led by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in US and Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) in Trinidad and Tobago.