The occurrence of marine disasters, either man-made (for example, a major oil spilll at sea) or natural (such as a tsunami) is a brutal reminder of the need for adequate observing systems, and for international cooperation in their establishment and maintenance. For example the devastation caused by the 26 December 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean led to the establishment of an early warning network for earthquakes and related tsunamis. It is hoped that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill (in April 2010) will encourage the development of an observing system that could mitigate the impacts of future oil spills. 









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