Oil spills and dumped waste are a well-known problem in every port. This is also the case in Antwerp, where the port of Antwerp will use drones in the fight against environmental pollution. From now on, it will be possible to automatically detect oil leaks using image algorithms. The same drones will also be useful in the event of any incidents in the port and to keep a close eye on large parts of it from the air.
Cooperation between the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the Port of Antwerp should enable drones to observe the port area, which covers more than 120 square kilometres. Port alderman Annick De Ridder is formal: "We are doing everything we can to ensure a safe port and the deployment of drones will be indispensable in the near future. Innovation is crucial for the long-term sustainable growth of our port".
Automatic detection of oil slicks
At regular intervals the drones will enter the sky and carry out their checks, remotely controlled by professional drone pilots. They will be required to have a precise view of the extensive port area in normal times, but also in the event of incidents such as a spreading fire in a company or a floating oil slick in the port. For oil incidents, the Port of Antwerp will work very closely with the University of Antwerp (UA). Based on visual material, a team from the UA will develop algorithms to automatically detect oil slicks during drone flights.