Drones have been evolving and evolving into something massive both in terms of technology and in terms of surprising people. With the latest technology coming, the people are demanding more from drones and, the industry feels even more pressured to develop something better. It’s like a competition between all manufacturers to produce something a lot better. As the stigma increases, so does all the bad things related to it do. For instance, let’s say if there are more drones up in the air, there will be more chances of collisions and many more things like that.
Talking about this, drones will now be used to take surveillance of the ships now. Drones will be participating in active surveillance to monitor the busiest ports in many countries to see or to check out the ships. Amazing right? We think so too.
We’ll tell you the details in just a bit.
Drones are now being used as a solution to detect many problems both environmental and social. They are proving to be very convenient both for the public and for the officials. Just earlier, drones were used to light down the fire that was caused in Notre Dame castle and many drones are being manufactured to carry out the process further and also to help people and officials in setting down the fire. Another quick fix relating to drones helping in environmental problems is that of those drones which recently helped to lower the pollution in the environment with the help of the showers incorporated in them that kind of made it look like it was raining but actually it cleared down the polluted dusty environment that people were so irritated from.
Coming back to our topic. A team of highly efficient drones will now be up in the sky to overcome another task assigned to them which is monitoring some of the busiest ports in the world. You might be wondering why they are doing this. We will tell you exactly why. Their goal or target is to catch the environmental rule breakers.
Now, this might look or let’s say sound a lot like something that coming out from the Avengers movies by Marvel but well, it is what it is and it’s true. For a lot or many of the ports in the world, this solution is a must-have. These so-called “sniffer drones might just be the best way for enforcing the new regulations which are mainly targeting some of the let’s say “culprits that are to some level the cause of air pollution; the ships of course. So in other words, drones will be looking out for the ships.
You might be wondering what ships and why? The answer is simple, those ships which use a noncompliant oil which is emitted into the air as well as into the sea and further poses a threat to our lives. They emit a harmful chemical like sulfur oxide along with many others which is the main cause of acid rain as well as asthma. Many regulators are bracing for rules which are meant for lowering the ship’s emissions of sulfur oxides, pollutants which are the main blame for acid rain and aggravating human health conditions such as asthma.
These regulations, which will be starting by Jan. 1, will be requiring most of the world’s ships to burn much more expensive fuels, there has been speculation that some of the owners may try to cheat to drive down what is their single biggest cost. And that is where the drones come in the game.
In the country of Netherlands, which is the home to Europe’s largest port, preparations are underway to use a large, unmanned flying vehicle which is capable of traveling for over 10 miles directly from the shore for detecting the emissions that are coming out from the ships. The local enforcement authority calls this device or aircraft a ‘super drone.’
In the country of Hong Kong, people who tend to break the rules face very heavy and large fines, they also face a sentence of up to six months in prison, similar but a little smaller machines are also being tested for the same purpose currently.
Maritime authorities in the country of Denmark and Norway have also started to use this amazing technology already.
Authorities can use these drones for effectively filtering through the tens and thousands of vessels which are coming in and out of their ports. Also knowing in advance if a ship is burning non-compliant fuel, this means that they can target the right carrier for manual inspection. That sounds just great!
In the country of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, there are over hundreds of ships which currently are randomly selected for spot-checks, many authorities are also working with academics on using drones, reported Professor Zhi Ning, who is from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
These unmanned vehicles will fly into the large fumes of smokes that are created by the vessels, collecting the real-time data which is then used to calculate how much sulfur is in the fuel of a ship. The University of Hong Kong is currently in the stages of field-testing its technology this month and will be sending staff on the boat trips around entire Hong Kong, whose name means “Fragrant Harbor.”
“It takes a total of only two or three minutes for us to finish a single scanning of the plume/fume of a single ship,” said Professor Zhi Ning from Hong Kong University.
He also added that they hoped to have this joint effort between Hong Kong and Shenzhen for a much Greater Bay area.
He further said that in the end, air pollution does not have any boundaries or limits. It is something that just flows around and is there.
In the country of Netherlands, wherein the entire marine fuel, the sulfur limit is already set at 0.1%, plans are already being done for unmanned aircraft to start being used for the emission testing in the second half of this year.
The local enforcement authority (the Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport also known as ILT) is also waiting for the approval to start using a so-called super drone which has the capability to analyze the emissions of ships that are much further out in the sea, with the testing which will be starting from the beginning of next year when the IMO rules start to kick in. That is all in addition to Rotterdam’s “sniffer pole,” which is a fixed installation at the port’s entrance that tends to test out the fumes of all the passing vessels.
Marco Buitelaar who happened to be the program manager for the clean vessels at the ILT said that Drones are very cost-effective and that they will make enforcement much more efficient.
While the data the drones collect cannot be used in a criminal court case, Marco Buitelaar has plans to use their findings for pinpointing which vessels’ fuel tanks to get physical samples from. His crew is quite serious about enforcing of the IMO’s rules and is also aiming for full compliance.
According to Buitelaar In April, a total of four ships were being investigated by the public prosecutor for exceeding the existing sulfur limit.
Professor Zhi Ning from Hong Kong University also said that drones are merely not the end of law enforcement, He added that after they can scan the ships, their government can then take the samples of the fuel from these targets to use in the court as a kind of physical evidence. He further added that the plume is gone after they finish taking the measurement, which is why it cannot be used.
According to Richard Chatterton, an analyst with Bloomberg NEF in Singapore, the shipping industry is very prone to comply with IMO’s emission regulations, especially main companies which will not be able to escape the risk which this process poses to their reputations from cheating.
Even though using the drones can help to spot cheats near the coastal areas, it will not necessarily be of help when it comes to catching them in international waters which is often hundreds of miles from land where drones cannot possibly reach, especially if those vessels which are supposed to use the scrubbers to eliminate sulfur emissions from their ships choose to switch off their equipment.
Chatterton said that it would be really expensive to fly these drones out into international waters in left, right and center directions. He added that Flag states are responsible for enforcing pollution regulations, but he cannot conclude as to why anybody would pay that money?
Being closer to land, other ports are continuing to take this enforcement seriously. Norway’s maritime authority last year had uncovered at least five violations of the sulfur regulations and started to use drones. Denmark had also launched its own system for the same purpose in April. Also in Singapore, which is the world’s largest bunkering port, rule-breakers risk jail terms of up to two years.
This system which enforces drones to carry out certain procedures that eliminate the presence of toxins in the air and will prove to be an amazing hit and an amazing step for eliminating the pollution, especially with so much going on in the environment which is causing a lot of harm to the world. So many diseases are already being spread and what is more alarming is the thinning of the ozone layer. Measures like this are very appreciated and also should be taken to reduce pollution.
We hope that this article was full of information and it gave you the latest updates relating the innovative use of drones which keeps updating day by day and leaving us surprised. Tell us what you think in the comments bar below.
Until next time, off we go.