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Port of Rotterdam tests drone for shipping inspections

The Port of Rotterdam Authority wants to find out if the Avy Area is suitable for supporting inspectors and shipping masters in their work. For this reason it tests a drone that is focused on sea-going and inland shipping inspections.

Posted on October 19, 2022

These inspections examine bunkering, water pollution, ship-to-ship transfer, zoning for hazardous substances, shore-to-ship transfer, air pollution, and repairs on board vessels.

If the drone detects an open tank filler cap, this might be an indication of illegal degassing by the vessel and call for taking a closer look. The drone has a wing span of 2.40 metres, a cruise speed of 90 kilometres per hour, and a 95-kilometre range at low energy consumption.

Two or three drones would suffice to cover the entire port area and have a drone over the spot quickly when an incident occurs. Additionally, this drone can carry small cargoes of up to 3 kilos, such as refrigerated medical supplies, vessel parts, or cargo samples.

On flight days, operations always begin with a briefing with the NHV helicopter pilots, who are also stationed on the Pilotage Service site. The drone and helicopters share the same airspace, so there should be clear rules in place as to how this airspace is used.

Piloting, search and rescue operations by NHV always have priority over drone operations, for instance.


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