Martek Marine has been included in a framework contract by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS, or drones) services in the maritime environment.
Due to the recent entering into force of the new limits for marine fuels’ sulphur content, directive (EU) 2015/253 of 16th February 2015 laying down the rules concerning the sampling and reporting on the sulphur content of marine fuels, SOx emissions from ships need to be monitored.
The enforcement by member states will require monitoring of the emissions and information exchange between the responsible administrations.
To improve environmental surveillance capabilities, data from new sensors, in particular from RPAS, are to be incorporated to provide information to the states. EMSA will organise and provide, as an institutional service provider, pilot RPAS service operations in support of states focusing on marine pollution detection & monitoring and emissions monitoring.
However, this technology could also be used for other purposes in an emergency, if necessary or requested by states, the European Commission and other EU agencies.
Martek Marine’s contract is specifically for ship engine emission monitoring by RPAS.
This new requirement requires a drone to sample gases from a vessel’s emissions plume by using electro-optical, infra-red imaging, gas emission and AIS detection sensors.