With more than 2 billions people living close to the coasts and most of the global trade crossing the seas, the concept of “ocean’s health” is being adopted to express how the anthropic pressure over the seas is of increasing concern. Five of the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals are linked to the oceans which somehow resume the variety of pathways connecting our society with the marine environment.

Water quality and marine pollution, usually considered by policy makers and authorities mostly in relation with coastal areas, are now seen as problems of global extent exemplified by the widespread distributions of plastic and marine debris. On another context, maritime safety and efficient navigation are crucial to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases emissions. Indeed, search and rescue operations at sea have dramatically increased associated to the precarious migration through seas trying to run away from wars and social conflicts, as it presently happens in the Mediterranean. In all these problems we need to develop specific methodologies and tools to provide an efficient assessment that can be used either to prevent or to respond adequately.