|SAR Analysis Mission|
SAR analysis of vessel presence in the Central Mediterranean
By: Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani (Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths,
Forensic Oceanography (FO) is a project led by Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani and Situ Studio as part of the European Research Council project “Forensic Architecture” directed by Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths,
Chain of events of the "Left-to-die boat"
Our inquiry into the “left-to-die boat” case mobilized multiple sources of data so as to document with precision the events that led to the migrants’ deaths. In particular the project attempted to spatialize the timeline of events in an attempt to determine the degree of involvement and responsibility of different actors. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery analysis was a key element in this endeavour in that it allowed us to construct a picture of the presence of ships – civilian and military – at the time and in the area of events. While working on the report, FO reached out to GISCorps for the network’s expertise. GISCorps recruited Lawrence Fox
While the resolution of the imagery we accessed was too low to allow for the identification of the provenance of the many boats in view, it was sufficient to identify with precision returns as ships operating in the vicinity of the migrants vessel, and thus constituted a powerful tool to raise the question: whose ships are these? The SAR imagery and analysis contributed to pressure Nations involved in NATO’s maritime embargo to answer this question.
Further details are included in the Complete Report.
While the report is only beginning its public life – it will next be examined by French judges and may be the basis for further legal action against other states – we can consider at this stage already that it was well received and had a measurable impact in terms of forcing the military of several states to position themselves regarding the case. The ultimate effect we hope to contribute to is bringing justice to the survivors of this case and more broadly bringing attention and accountability to the deaths of migrants at sea. The analysis provided by Lawrence Fox