The drone, provided by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), is fitted with a so-called ‘sniffer’ capable of measuring sulphur emissions.
Entering the ship’s exhaust gas plume, the drone can register the amount of sulphur in the fuel. The data can be immediately available to the Danish authorities who can then follow up if a ship does not comply with the regulatory requirements.
The drone will operate in an area north of The Great Belt, where many large tankers pass when plying the Baltic Sea.
Last Thursday, the drone had performed its first sulphur measuring mission in the area.
“The project will contribute to a more efficient enforcement of the sulphur rules, thereby ensuring fair competition for shipping companies and less pollution from ships. In Denmark, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for enforcing the sulphur rules, and the Danish Maritime Authority supports this work through ship inspections in Danish ports and now also with drone monitoring,” Danish Maritime Authority stated.
From 1 January 2020, it will be mandatory for ocean-going ships to burn bunker fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5%, down from the current limit of 3.5%.