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Drone ‘sniffs’ sulphur emissions

A large drone has started start checking emissions from ships in Danish waters to make sure they comply with the 0.10% sulphur limit that applies in the area

The drone is provided by the European Maritime Safety Agency, and is to be used as a means of preventing ship pollution.


The drone is fitted with a so-called ‘sniffer’ capable of measuring sulphur emissions. By entering the ship’s exhaust gas plume, the drone can estimate the amount of sulphur in the fuel. The data is immediately available to Danish authorities, who can follow up if the data indicates that a ship does not comply with the requirements.

According to a statement the project “will contribute to a more efficient enforcement of the sulphur rules, thereby ensuring fair competition for shipping companies and less pollution from ships”. In Denmark, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for enforcing the sulphur rules, and the Danish Maritime Authority supports this work through ship inspections in Danish ports and now also with drone monitoring.


The drone operates in an area north of the Great Belt and carried out its first sulphur monitoring mission in the area in April.

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