Finnish authorities actively using EMSA’s remotely piloted aircraft to support vital coast guard tasks over the Baltic Sea
The Finnish Border Guard will be using EMSA’s remotely piloted aircraft services over the coming weeks from the base of Hanko to provide increased situational awareness for an array of different operational tasks in areas such as search and rescue, maritime safety and security, customs and border control, environmental protection and general law enforcement at sea.
Modern surveillance technology has much to offer governmental authorities working in the maritime domain and the Finnish Border Guard intends to make the most of EMSA’s remotely piloted aircraft, both directly and in cooperation with other national authorities. While the flights will be performed in Finnish airspace, mission planning and data is also being coordinated and shared with both Sweden and Estonia. Part of EMSA’s regional RPAS service, this collaboration will allow the countries involved to create a common maritime picture and where appropriate to respond in close coordination with each other.
The aircraft being used is a CAMCOPTER® S100 model and it is under contract to EMSA from Schiebel Aircraft GmbH. It has several features making it suitable for this service, including the ability to take off and land from an area smaller than 5m x 5m, flight endurance of over six hours and a range of greater than 100km. Information is gathered on board from optical and infrared cameras as well as from an AIS receiver and an automated maritime surface search sensor for detecting targets at sea.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) services are offered free to all EU member states by EMSA. They have been developed to assist in maritime surveillance operations and ship emission monitoring, and can operate in all seas surrounding the European Union. RPAS services can provide support to traditional coast guard functions, including search and rescue and pollution prevention and response. The services are offered to member states individually and as part of EMSA’s regional RPAS strategy, which allows multiple coast guard functions in several EU member states to be supported by one or more RPAS services. Further expansion of RPAS regionally is planned in 2021 and 2022. See where EMSA is flying.
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is a decentralised agency of the EU, based in Lisbon, Portugal. EMSA serves the EU’s maritime interests for a safe, secure, green and competitive maritime sector, delivering value for member states through support for pollution prevention and response, maritime surveillance, safety and security, digitalisation and the provision of integrated maritime services, and technical assistance.