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Martek Marine to play major role in EMSA drone project

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Drones used for EMSA project will be compact and maneuverable

MARCH 17, 2017 — Rotherham, U.K., headquartered Martek Marine is to play a key role in one of the world’s maritime drone projects. The company has been awarded a two year contract for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Services from the European Marine Safety Agency (EMSA) that will see it supply drones (Remotely Piloted Aircraft), pilots, long-range antennae, mission control vehicles and ground crew as part of a EUR 67 million EMSA strategy of improving coastguard monitoring and surveillance of maritime activity.

Video and drone sensor data will be streamed live to a control center, to allow EU Member States to make prompt decisions on intervention actions.

The drones will be used to perform beyond visual line of sight operations and will assist with border control activities, search & rescue operations and monitoring of pollution, as well as the detection of illegal fishing and drug and people trafficking.

A typical surveillance task involves the deployment of a drone from the deck of a ship to a specified area of interest. The drone then collects requested surveillance information before sending it, in addition to payload data, to the users.

The drones specified under the EMSA contract are of compact design, making them extremely maneuverable in addition to having the ability to start and land vertically from both shore and vessels. Focusing on short range operations, the drones will be equipped with the latest sensors designed for maritime surveillance. To operate effectively in the maritime environment, the technology has been developed to withstand storm force wind and heavy rain, snow and salt spray.

Martek’s continued contractual success follows the company being awarded a previous EUR 10M contract by EMSA for ship engine emission monitoring using RPAS in November 2016. Martek’s sister company COPTRZ provided consultancy on both contracts.

Paul Luen, Martek Group, CEO says: “This contract sets us up for major expansion as the maritime drone experts. More world firsts will be delivered by us in this exciting technology field during 2017, as we launch further disruptive drone services.”

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