New Drone Trial Flights over Maasvlakte and Europoort
Visitors and ship’s crew in Maasvlakte and Europoort recently might have seen a new white drone flying overhead on certain days. For the next few months, the newest model of Dutch drone manufacturer Avy, the Avy Aera 3 will be carrying out trials on one specific day of the week focused on sea-going and inland shipping inspections by the Harbour Master’s Division on bunkering, water pollution, ship-to-ship transfer, zoning for hazardous substances, shore-to-ship transfer, air pollution (smoke or soot), and repairs on board vessels.
If the drone detects an open tank filler cap, this might be an indication of illegal degassing by the vessel and call for taking a closer look, for example.
The drone takes off automatically from a docking station installed at the Rotterdam-Rijnmond Pilotage Service at Pistoolhaven.
The drone has a wingspan of 2.40 metres, a cruise speed of 90 kilometres per hour, and a 95-kilometre range at low energy consumption. Two or three drones would suffice to cover the entire port area and have a drone over the spot quickly when an incident occurs. Additionally, this drone can carry small cargoes of up to 3 kilos, such as refrigerated medical supplies, vessel parts, or cargo samples.
On flight days, operations always begin with a briefing with the NHV helicopter pilots, who are also stationed on the Pilotage Service site. The drone and helicopters share the same airspace, so there should be clear rules in place as to how this airspace is used. Piloting, search and rescue operations by NHV always have priority over drone operations, for instance.
Source Port of Rotterdam and Avy