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Martek to supply drones for ship monitoring

Maritime technology company Martek Marine has been included by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) in a framework deal to develop Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in the maritime environment.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}New limits for sulphur content of marine fuels came have been in place since 2015, along with rules concerning the sampling and reporting of that the sulphur content and all SOx emissions from ships. EU directives require monitoring of emissions and information exchange between the responsible administrations. 

In that regard, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) will be used to collect data on emissions, to be incorporated with other data sources to provide emissions information to Member States. EMSA will organise and provide pilot RPAS service operations in support of Member States focusing on marine pollution detection and monitoring, and emissions monitoring.

Martek Marine has been awarded one of several framework contracts launched by EMSA in this area, with the contract won by Martek specifically focusing on ship engine emission monitoring by RPAS. This new requirement requires an RPAS (drone) to sample gases from a vessel’s emissions plume by using a payload of electro optical, infra-red imaging, gas emission and AIS detection sensors.

The RPAS can be flown over 50 km from the ground station, with video being streamed back on a continuous basis. An on-board gas analyser draws samples of air and monitors SOx, NOx and CO2 levels to determine possible breaches in EU law on the sulphur content of a ship’s fuel.

Development is also underway to incorporate satellite command and control, and payload data streaming, so the RPAS can operate in what is known as BRLOS (beyond radio line of sight) over 100 km away.

“We've worked hard and invested big to pioneer the maritime application of drone technology in the last three years,” said Paul Luen, Martek Group CEO.

“This EMSA contract allows us to combine our original 'world first' of ship SO2/CO2/NOx monitoring, with our unique drone platform to deliver another world first. We're determined to 'change the world using drones' and this is the first of many applications which we intend to pioneer.”

“We have made a real commitment to drone technology and envisage them bringing huge benefits to maritime operations, and this tender allowed us to marry this capability with our world leading emissions monitoring pedigree.”{/mprestriction}

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