Danish Authorities Use Drones to Monitor Sulfur Emissions of Ships

drones will be measuring sulfur emissions from ship sailing to the Baltic
Danes to employ drones to monitor sulfur emissions from ships - courtesy Danish Maritime Authority

Published Jul 26, 2020 1:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

[Brief] The Danish Maritime Authority announced the expansion of its program employing drones to check the emissions of ships in an area north of The Great Belt, where many large ships pass en route to and from the Baltic Sea.

Over the next four months, until October 31, a new drone provided by the European Maritime Safety Agency will operate in the area to monitor the sulfur emissions levels.  The done that will be used has previously conducted a variety of surveillance tasks. 

This is the second time EMSA is testing what it calls a “sulfur-sniffing” drone in Denmark. Last year, a different model patrolled in the area for three months. 

The drone being employed in 2020 to measure sulfur content in emissions

By flying into the ship's exhaust gas plume, the drone can use its so-called “sniffer technology” to register the sulfur content in the ship's fuel. The data is immediately available to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, which can then follow up if a ship is emitting too much sulfur.

Several Danish authorities have cooperated to get the drone from EMSA in action above Danish waters. The test project is carried out as a collaboration between the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and the Danish Maritime Authority.

In 2019, when the project was first tested, the Danish Authorities said, “The project will contribute to a more efficient enforcement of the sulfur rules, thereby ensuring fair competition for shipping companies and less pollution from ships.”