Each year a large number of discharges of oil and other hazardous polluting substances from transportation-related processes occur in the navigable waters of the United States. In order to minimize environmental damage from such discharges and to effect prompt containment and cleanup efforts, these spills must be detected and reported as quickly as possible. The Coast Guard has been investigating oil detection techniques and sensor equipment with a view to establishing local area pollution surveillance systems in various port and estuarine areas. The exact configuration of the surveillance systems will be dictated to a large extent by the capabilities of the detectors available. Consequently, the Coast Guard effort, to date, has been concentrated primarily on the development and evaluation of the sensors themselves. This paper summarizes that effort and presents an overview of work still to be accomplished.

*The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private ones of the writer and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Commandant or the Coast Guard at large.

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