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Friday, April 9, 2021 

In response to a request from the Environmental Protection Department of Lithuania’s Ministry of the Environment, The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is providing its Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) services to assist in monitoring ship emissions, protect the marine environment and improve maritime safety.

The service began on 23 March 2021 and will run for three months. The EMSA RPAS is being used to calculate the sulphur content of the fuel being used by passing ships. Sensors on board the RPAS will measure the emissions from the exhaust plumes of vessels travelling in the main shipping lanes and when at anchorage around the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda. The sulphur content of marine fuel in this Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) should be no greater than 0.1%.

While great interest has been shown in the emissions monitoring capability of EMSA’s RPAS service, the Environmental Protection Department will also be working in collaboration with other Lithuanian authorities - including the Navy, MRCC and fisheries control services – to conduct other maritime surveillance missions.

The aircraft being used for this service is the Schiebel Camcopter S100 and it is under contract to EMSA via a consortium led by Nordic Unmanned. The S100 is a vertical take-off and landing drone, fitted with gas sensors and cameras covering optical and infrared spectral ranges to better detect vessel plumes and conduct maritime surveillance.

All the information is transmitted in real-time to trained users through EMSA’s RPAS Data Centre. Records of the emission measurements are encoded automatically into the THETIS-EU information sharing system. This system is operated by EMSA to assist in the enforcement of the EU sulphur directive as well as to support port inspectors when targeting vessels to be inspected.

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