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Port of Antwerp carries out unique trials of small, unmanned aircraft

Drones are playing an increasingly important role in coordinating safety within the complex port environment. That is the reason why Port of Antwerp carried out unique trials involving a ‘fixed-wing’ drone this week. The fact it can fly at high altitude and has a very powerful camera enables the craft to provide an unprecedented view of the entire port. In cooperation with Port of Antwerp's safety partners and its technology partner Sabca, the unmanned aircraft was used to provide images of realistic incident scenarios. The trials are intended to provide an insight into the possibilities this type of drone can provide as a tool to assist the port authority and to make collaboration with the safety and security services more efficient.

A unique perspective
The port of Antwerp is over 120 km² in size and forms part of Belgium's ‘critical’ infrastructure. Thanks to the unique views they provide from the air, drones can make a significant contribution to overall safety within this complex environment. A ‘fixed-wing’ drone can fly around for more than eight hours and take pictures with a very powerful camera (30x zoom) from a height of 280 metres. This week, in collaboration with Waasland Emergency Assistance Zone, the Antwerp Fire Service and Port of Antwerp's technology partner, Sabca, Port of Antwerp tested out various use cases. The images recorded by the unmanned aircraft of four realistic emergency situations (a container fire, the rescue of a person in distress on top of a windmill, the rescue of a drowning person and the rescue of a man overboard), will provide an insight into the possibilities of using unmanned aircraft of that sort within the port environment.



Working together to build the port of the future

According to Port of Antwerp, the use of drones will play an increasingly important role in the port of the future and as a means of maintaining safety. Cooperation with innovative partners such as the aviation specialist Sabca will form a key part of this.

“Drones will be indispensable in the near future when performing high-risk tasks,” says Thibauld Jongen, the CEO of Sabca, “By carrying out these demonstrations in collaboration with Port of Antwerp, we are able to show that we can make various operations safer and more efficient by using unmanned aircraft for inspections, transporting goods and surveillance."

Efficient collaboration with safety partners
In the future, Port of Antwerp intends to maximise the assistance provided to the Harbour Safety & Security (HSS) service and its safety partners through the use of drones. The types of tasks that can be performed include inspecting infrastructure, surveillance and monitoring, incident management, berth management and the detection of oil spills or floating waste.

For more information:
Port of Antwerp
Havenhuis, Zaha Hadidplein 1
2030 Antwerp, Belgium
Tel.: +32 492 15 41 39
Email: press@portofantwerp.com


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