The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has announced the deployment of an additional drone to monitor boat activity in the waters of France's English Channel. The move is part of EMSA's efforts to increase surveillance of shipping lanes and detect potential emissions violations. Vienna-based company Schiebel has been contracted by EMSA to supply its S-100 drones for the new missions, which will be conducted in collaboration with France's CROSS Gris-Nez coast guard and naval observation station.
Situated between Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer, the CROSS Gris-Nez base offers direct access to one of the busiest shipping lanes globally. The S-100 drones will utilize onboard sniffer sensors to collect fuel emissions data from vessels, ensuring compliance with the 2020 rule restrictions. Additionally, the drones' video feed will enable authorities to monitor various activities, including observation of fishing craft to enforce catch quotas.
EMSA has been steadily increasing the deployment of drones over European Union waters over the past few years, particularly after the International Maritime Organization implemented regulations in 2020 to reduce fuel emissions and mitigate the impact of global cargo shipping on climate change. The recent deployment to CROSS Gris-Nez marks another addition to EMSA's operations in France, in addition to numerous missions conducted in Spain, Italy, Denmark, Lithuania, Germany, and other countries with coastlines along the Baltic, Atlantic, and Mediterranean.
Schiebel's S-100 drones have been consistently chosen by EMSA for these maritime patrols. These autonomous UAVs have a maximum flight capacity of 200 kilometers or up to six hours using a normal heavy fuel tank, and up to 10 hours with a larger reserve tank. The dual rotor craft is capable of operating in various weather conditions, both day and night. The sniffer sensors onboard collect emission samples, which are transmitted in real-time to command posts for analysis. This enables operators to identify potentially non-compliant vessels and prepare necessary actions, including fines.
The drones can be equipped with additional sensors and video capabilities based on client requirements. This allows gathering of data related to other environmental violations and monitoring of EU fishing quotas, traffic between national and international waters, as well as potential irregular or illegal activities at sea.
Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group, expressed his company's pride in supporting EMSA's important work through the deployment of S-100 drones. He emphasized the significance of continuous monitoring in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and highlighted the long-standing partnership between Schiebel and EMSA.