Networked systems for situational awareness and intervention in maritime incidents

Porto Incident Response Demonstration

Porto, May 28th and 29th 2015

​This exercise is NOT an actual real event, this is a large-scale demonstration which has been created to simulate a real-to-life disaster. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate networked vehicle systems in maritime incident response scenarios. 

The story

A ship is reported to have sunk North of Porto. The search area Oparea A has been identified and an oil spill has been spotted close to shore a few kms South (Oparea B).

Operations Areas

A command center is established at Porto de Leixões to coordinate the actions of two teams (A and B) and to interface with external entities.
Team A boards a vessel equipped with Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), and drifters, used to measure surface currents. The vessel is dispatched to Oparea A. Team B is dispatched to Oparea B with a van equipped with Unmanned Air Vehicles. A dedicated radar system specially designed to spot oil spills is activated at Porto de Leixões.

Partners roles

APDL – coordinator and operational support
FEUP – command and control framework, autonomous underwater and air vehicles, drifters, communications
ULimerick – Remotely Operated Vehicles; tele-presence
FUAC – social networks and media
Tecnalia – situation awareness
ENSTA – radars and characterization of oil spills
Portuguese Navy – operational support and evaluation
Submersus – local diving center

Command and control

The command and control framework is targeted at providing situational awareness and at disseminating relevant information to the Internet for third parties involved in the exercise. In this case interfaces to NIPIM@R and to the Tecnalia Situational Awareness Center are provided.

Vehicle systems

ROV from Limerick


Portuguese Navy Patrol Ship

APDL Tow Ship


Two days are considered for this demonstration to account for changing weather and ocean conditions. The first day is a practice day. The second day is reserved for the demonstration. The first day may suffice for the purpose of demonstrating the technologies.

May 28th and 29th

8H00 Command center activated
8H30   Briefing
9H00  Teams A and B as dispatched to Opareas A and B
9H45 Popcorn is deployed to simulate oil spill || ENSTA Radar is turned on to identify oil spill
10H00 Team A starts searching Oparea A for the shipwreck with two autonomous underwater vehicles equipped with side-scan sonars 
Team A deploys several drifters to characterize surface currents 
Team B installs the setup for the operation of unmanned air vehicles close to Oparea B.
11H00 Team A deploys autonomous underwater vehicles to identify side-scan contacts. Team B flies UAVs over Oparea B to search for oil spills.
11H30 Team A identifies contacts and deploys a ROV for visual inspection and dispatches divers for additional inspection || Team B lands the UAVs.
12H00  Return to base