Drones to help with port control

Drone Drones will support the management, inspection and supervision of the Port of Antwerp. Photo: Port of Antwerp

Drones will be used to support enforcement and control in the Antwerp port area with a view to improving overall safety.

The Port of Antwerp, in collaboration with the FPS Mobility and Transport, has made an agreement with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). The drone pilot will accompany port authority officers during their enforcement tasks to enable the management, inspection and supervision of the port’s more than 120km2 land area quickly and safely.

Drones can also be used in the event of incidents to gain a rapid insight into the situation. Images can also be accessed remotely, so they can be shared quickly with emergency services if necessary. The imagery of oil incidents will also be used by the University of Antwerp to train algorithms to automatically detect oil incidents in the future.

Paul Wauters, harbour master at Port of Antwerp, said: “This collaboration with EMSA allows us to use new technologies in our enforcement, in order to respond to incidents more quickly and to create a safer port for port users.”

Key role

According to the Port of Antwerp, the use of drones will play an increasingly important role in the port of the future. As part of Port of Antwerp's participation in the SAFIR project, extensive tests have already been carried out to investigate the feasibility of manned and unmanned drones at the port. The ultimate goal is a network of autonomous drones that can provide a ‘live feed’ of the various port activities, in the context of a smart, safe and efficient port.

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