Moby Now the test is a “photo”

one of the images presented by the geologist Komin Sopra: the crack of the oil tanker Agip (Sestini)

The oil tanker was in the no-go zone, it emerges in the hearing in the House Committee The satellite image dates back to 14 days after the disaster but is believed to be reliable

LIVORNO. “It’s as if in the murder investigation we have the testimony of the cousin who believes he recognizes the guy who came out of the murdered house and now instead we find the DNA of the culprit in our hands.” The comparison is one of the closest to the case after the last hearing scheduled by the parliamentary commission of inquiry into the Moby Prince disaster: more than 31 years have passed but the injury of those 140 sailors continues alive and the passengers surrounded by the provoked stake. due to the collision between the Livorno-Olbia ferry and the oil tanker Agip Abruzzo a few minutes after leaving the port of Livorno.

The “DNA test” is a satellite image showing the tanker inside the area that at the time the maritime authority had banned both anchoring and fishing precisely to make the entry and especially the exit of the port of Livorno, one of the top five in terms of number of ships.

The expert’s file

Something else emerged in the audience of geologist Alfred Komin: preceded by a resume with 27 years of experience in engineering consulting, first for large multinationals and then a private studio, specializing in image processing of remote sensing, the expert actually dedicates the entire report, 36 minutes of intervention plus 27 slides, to certify the accuracy of his work. Translated: those images did not approach a page a bit like this, they were in the center of a dossier presented to the authorities in 2020 (with an encore last March to deepen the work, obtaining confirmation).

These are images from the USGS, the US Geological Survey, which in distant years had launched a joint campaign with NASA to use Landsat satellites to open our eyes to the state of the territory thanks to technologies remote sensing. “It was the first time,” says Komin, “that something like this had been done: for scientific purposes rather than exclusively military.” Of course, we are not talking about a photograph as we understand it: a camera that opens the lens to reality and reproduces it. In this case we are talking about a complex digital treatment of the bands that in the end, however, give rise to a “photograph”, albeit a little in quotes.

Landsat satellite

But there is another “but”: the Landsat 5 satellite created a 180-kilometer strip covering an area of ​​33,000 square kilometers “with a resolution of 30 meters.” It did so at an altitude of 705 kilometers, Komin explained to the commissioners, with intermittent coverage: that is, it passed over the port of Livorno every 16 days. Here, with the disaster that occurred on April 10, 1991, we have the “photo” of April 8 (but the tanker was not there because it had not yet arrived) and then that of April 24. Therefore, the photo of that precise moment is missing, but the official positioning was also detected on April 12 and 14, assuming that the tanker truck did not move from where it was. Translated: in the next six months she was “photographed” always there, always within the forbidden zone either totally (five times) or partially (three times).

The report

Komin devotes virtually the entire report to verifying above all the accuracy of the overlap between the digital image recovered from the satellite and the nautical mapping on paper indicating the no-go zone. He points out that the proximity of the coast, including the dam of Vegliaia, offers a number of landmarks on the ground that minimize the margin of error in the perfect overlap of maps (with average deviations of less than three and a half meters , this maximum does not reach eight meters).

The expert points out that, to be clear, the identification of the tanker is a logical deduction: in those days there could not have been ships of that size in that particular stretch of sea other than that giant of Agip Abruzzo, more than more than 330 meters long and almost 51 meters wide, just under 130,000 gross tones.

It is certainly not the first time that the question of the position of the oil tanker has returned to the spotlight that night in April of ’91. of research: I hadn’t been able to do much because the images from the Landsat 5 satellite already existed but in that first phase. the U.S. Geological Survey had not yet reprocessed the images: they existed but were not easily usable or decipherable.

In previous rounds, this had been a bit in the background. In fact, then-Captain Sergio Albanese had said in a hurry: the tanker was where he could stay.

The Senate committee, based on the assessments of its consultants, believed, however, before having the images from the US Geological Survey, to have identified “with a sufficient degree of certainty” the anchor coordinates of Agip Abruzzo: 43.29.8 north and 10.15.6 east, enough to place “the anchorage of the said vessel in an area closed to navigation and without anchorage”. To reinforce this hypothesis, the commissioners headed by Senator Silvio Lai made use of the investigations carried out by the Navy “by means of sonar instruments and with the help of a submarine core”: they “twisted metal sheets, of considerable weight and dimensions “. found, attributable to the typical hull structure of a ship “.

The “DNA test”

Many pieces of the puzzle to try to reconstruct one of the aspects that have been a little too forgotten: but clues. Now the Montecitorio commission believes it has found the “DNA test”: the final report should arrive by the end of the legislature. We will see what weight will be given to the Komin report in the general reconstruction that Romano has announced thanks to the complex simulations of the Cetena pool (and what it will have in the judicial investigation open to the Prosecutor’s Office).

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