The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has been closely cooperating with the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) to support enhanced fisheries control by providing additional surveillance capacity from a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS).
EMSA has made available a quadcopter for flights taking off from EFCA’s chartered offshore patrol vessel, Lundy Sentinel, and operating over areas of interest in the Mediterranean Sea, western waters of the North-East Atlantic Ocean, North Sea and the Baltic.
The RPAS service provided by EMSA offers complementary support to EFCA which has been exploring new and innovative solutions to enhance fisheries control. More specifically, the RPAS service enables pre-boarding assessments, surveillance during boarding and post boarding analysis to be carried out remotely and thereby benefiting fisheries inspections and control. This concept can also be applied to other coast guard functions.
By flying in the vicinity of a vessel, the RPAS can collect data relating to the ongoing activity. This data can then be transmitted in real time to EFCA’s liaison officer deployed on board Lundy Sentinel, as well as to EFCA’s coordination centre in Vigo, and EMSA’s headquarters in Lisbon via secure Satcom links.
These RPAS services take place within the context of European co-operation on coast guard functions, in which EFCA, EMSA and Frontex provide support to member states’ national competent authorities ensuring cost effective and coordinated action.