The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has begun operation of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) flying from Denmark’s northernmost town Skagen, to provide better maritime surveillance and support coast guard functions.
The service is being provided by EMSA following a request from the Royal Danish Navy, which will utilise the service alongside fellow national authorities, including the Danish Customs and Danish Fisheries Agency.
The RPAS service is delivered through contractor Schiebel Aircraft GmbH and will see a Schiebel Camcopter S100 deployed over a two-month period.
The aircraft is an unmanned helicopter with up to six hours of operational time and a range of more than 100 km. It is equipped with both an optical and infrared camera, as well as an AIS receiver and an automated maritime search sensor capable of detecting objects on the sea surface.
The data gathered from the flights will be shared live through the EMSA RPAS Data Centre allowing users to monitor any unusual activity at sea with a potentially harmful impact on the safety and security of persons and vessels in the area or affecting the environment itself.
The system will also be used to identify, verify and provide information on potential oil spills and discharges at sea, running alongside the EU’s satellite-based service for oil spill detection, CleanSeaNet.