A lightweight Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) is currently being used by Romania’s Border Police for multipurpose coast guard surveillance over the Black Sea. The service, provided by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), started in August and is being used to support a wide range of tasks including maritime pollution, detection of illegal fishing, border surveillance and search and rescue operations.
The service makes use of a lightweight Indago RPAS, based on board the Stefan Cel Mare ship and operated by an RPAS pilot from EMSA contractor Nordic Unmanned. The data collected from the flights is transmitted in real time to users via EMSA’s RPAS Data Centre thanks to a powerful satellite communication internet service provided also by EMSA through its contractor SES. The flights take place in Romania’s competency area over the Black Sea and are being used for several purposes including surveillance of the maritime border, controlling and monitoring fishing activities, identifying pollution by ships, monitoring protected areas, and searching for missing persons. The current operation runs until the end of the year and the Romanian Border Police Force is keen to extend the service into 2021 given the strong inter-institutional cooperation and operational benefits demonstrated so far.