Posted on May 3rd, 2022

Our Changing Landscape – Sinking of the Al Salmy 6

In this monthly feature, we span the globe to examine Our Changing Landscape with a time series of medium-resolution PlanetScope satellite imagery. The PlanetScope constellation dates back to 2016 and collects hundreds of millions of square kilometers of 4, 5 and 8-band 3-meter imagery daily! Last month we checked out the devastation left behind after the second in a series of cyclones that hit Madagascar, and for this May edition of Our Changing Landscape we head to the Persian Sea to observe the sinking of a large cargo ship, the Al Salmy 6.

The PlanetScope Microsat Constellation

PlanetScope is a constellation of more than 240 microsats (as of January 2022) referred to individually as Doves. Each Dove is able to collect up to 20,000 square kilometers (sq km) per day of 3-meter (m) 4-band multispectral (i.e. blue, green, red and near-infrared [NIR]) imagery; and newly launched SuperDoves collect 8-band multispectral adding in valuable red-edge spectral data. Across the constellation, PlanetScope is archiving more than 200 million sq km of medium-resolution imagery a day, making it the go to source for daily imagery over most locations. This massive archive dates back to 2016, offering the most complete and continuous record of spatial data on the planet since the start of the constellation’s ongoing launch schedule. Collecting 3-meter multispectral imagery is the equivalent of ‘high-resolution’ multispectral data imaged by a 75-centimer (cm) satellite (as this satellite would feature 75-cm panchromatic and 3-m multispectral), making PlanetScope an extremely competitively priced option at just $1.80 per sq km. With well registered images and nearly daily collections of most locations, PlanetScope is the ideal imagery source for this current-events focused series, Our Changing Landscape.

Click on the image above to see an animation of 3-meter natural color PlanetScope imagery collected over the Persian Sea on March 17 and 18, 2022. This animation speaks to the agility of the PlanetScope constellation as the Planet collection planning team was able to image the Al Salmy 6 in the open waters of the Persian Sea before it sunk on March 17th. And by the time they imaged the same location on March 18th, the Al Salmy 6 had already sank to its deep water grave. (Images Courtesy: © Planet 2022)

The Sinking of the Al Salmy 6 in the Persian Sea


Built in 1983, the Al Salmy 6 was a 463-feet (141-meter) long by 72-feet (22-meter) wide cargo ship that carried 16,021 tons of cargo. According to port call records, the Al Salmy 6 left the Port of Rashid in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on March 15th traveling northwest in the Persian Sea. Early in the morning of March 17th when it was about 30 miles off the coast of the Iranian city, Assalouyeh, amid high winds and wave action, the Al Salmy 6 capsized carrying a load of cars and within hours the ship sank. Iran maritime teams were able to rescue 29 of the ship’s 30 crewmember but it is unclear at this time if the last member was ever found. Now it is time to turn to the 3-meter PlanetScope archive to see if it was able to capture a glimpse of the ship before it sank into the Persian Sea.

If you would like to find out more about using 3-meter PlanetScope imagery for your academic studies, engineering projects or any landscape analysis, let us know at [email protected] or (303) 993-3863.

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