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Parliamentary questions
PDF 37kWORD 18k
27 April 2020
 E-004344/2019
Answer given by Ms Vălean
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-004344/2019

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has so far concluded contracts with at least ten European countries for drone operations off their coasts. Flights have taken place for Iceland and Croatia, for example.

Initially, Frontex also requested regular drone operations to monitor Greek waters from EMSA. Similar requests for 2020 were also made by Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, France and the United Kingdom. The Commission is expecting further requests from other Member States and EU agencies.

1. At the moment EMSA is dealing with the following requests from EU Member States and EU Agencies for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) operations in 2020-2021: (see Annex to question 1)

Other requests received are from Bulgaria, Germany, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania.

Additional requests are expected from other Member States and EU agencies for 2020-2021 which will be evaluated taking into account available resources and technical capabilities of EMSA contractors.

Flights will take place from a designated air field by the requesting Member State, or in case of the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) being operated from a vessel. The command and control is with the requesting Member State, which also decides on the sea area to be covered by the flights.

2. EMSA has the following contracts in place for RPAS operations: (see Annex to question 2)

3. EMSA has been delivering drone services to Frontex in Greece. The exact location of the drone operations is confidential and cannot be disclosed by the Commission in order not to jeopardise the security and effectiveness of the surveillance activities.

The operations have been delayed and are currently suspended due to technical issues.

See annex :  Annex

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