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Nordic Unmanned flying over the Baltic Sea

Emissions monitoring drones deployed over the Baltic Sea

APRIL 21, 2022 – Nordic Unmanned is under contract to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to assist the Federal Maritime and Hydropraphic Agency with conducting a large-scale emissions monitoring campaign using remotely piloted aircraft operations starting April 20th. Over three months, the CAMCOPTER S-100 will measure the sulphur content in ships’ exhaust plumes transiting the Baltic Sea to detect violations of the applicable limits. Image data will also be collected for hydrographic surveying purposes.

The remotely piloted aircraft (RPAS) will take off from the German Armed Forces’ Staberhuk site on the east coast of Fehmarn and fly over selected ships operating in the Fehmarn Belt and the Kadetrinne/Kadetrenden to measure the sulphur content of their exhaust plumes using specific sensors. In this way, it will be possible to infer the sulphur content of the ship’s fuel, which must not exceed a level of 0.10% in the Baltic Sea Emission Control Area (SECA).

This operation marks the first of multiple simultaneous European deployments for Nordic Unmanned in the coming months. The Nordic Unmanned crew will deliver daily operations with live visualisation being provided through EMSA’s RPAS Data Centre which allows end users to follow the RPAS operations remotely.

CEO Knut Roar Wiig is delighted to kick off another emission monitoring campaign – “We are very excited to kick start our 2022 emission monitoring campaign with a deployment in Germany.

With the operational build-up we had in 2021, we can deliver even greater value to our clients. With over 1000 operational hours last year with the CAMCOPTER system, we look forward to supporting EMSA and the Federal Maritime and Hydropraphic Agency with our operational experience.”

Knut Roar Wiig, CEO Nordic Unmanned

The measurement results are made available in real-time to responsible authorities in all European ports via THETIS-EU, the Port State Control information system operated by EMSA. The consortium led by Nordic Unmanned, and partner NORCE Research Institute AS, monitors that vessels comply with the IMO 2020 sulphur and NOx regulations. The RPAS detects if the exhaust of the monitored vessels exceeds the limitation according to the regulations in place through IMO 2020. Should vessels utilize fuel with a sulphur concentration greater than 0,10%, they will likely undergo further investigation, for example by inspection at the next port of call.

In addition to ship exhaust gas measurements, visible and infrared aerial imagery is acquired. For shallow waters, bathymetric values can be extracted from images. Furthermore, imagery allows for three-dimensional mapping of the shore zone. The drone survey campaign will investigate whether aerial imagery can provide complementary information for the German hydrographic surveying service.


Nordic Unmanned is global leader of high-end products and services related to drones and data capture. Through worldwide operational experience and industry-leading expertise, Nordic Unmanned supports large governmental and industrial clients in the adaption of unmanned systems and services.

Founded in 2014, the Group has offices in Sandnes, Oslo, Molde, Odense (DK), Cranfield (UK) and Arnsberg (GER) and has quickly become one of Europe’s leading providers of unmanned systems and services, with operations across the continent. The Group is ISO 9001-2015 and certified by for the operation, maintenance, sale, design, development, and production, of unmanned systems and sensor technology. The production is also AS9100 certified. For more information visit


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.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) services are offered free of charge to all EU countries 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 countries individually and as part of EMSA’s regional RPAS strategy, which allows multiple coast guard functions in several EU countries to be supported by one or more RPAS services.


BSH is Germany’s central maritime authority. Around 1,000 employees from more than 100 professions work at the two headquarters in Hamburg and Rostock and on five ships. The tasks focus on, among other things, the promotion, safety and monitoring of maritime navigation, research and collection of long data series in the field of oceanography and marine chemistry, the water level forecasting service as well as nautical hydrography, within the framework of which official nautical charts are produced. In order to continuously improve the compatibility of protection and use of the seas and to continuously increase knowledge about the seas, the BSH works in maritime application-oriented research and on the development of products and services.

Investigations and provision of data on sea state measurements in offshore wind farms and as well as the development of sound measurement networks in the North Sea and Baltic Sea and the provision of data and technical information on impulse sound in the sea are examples of this. The development of technologies for measuring ship emissions in the air is also part of this. The BSH Navigation and Communication System Laboratory provides a test environment for complex navigation and communication systems.