Monday, March 20, 2017

News: Martek make up part of €67m maritime drone contract

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Drug smugglers, people traffickers, polluters and illegal fishing vessels trying to operate in Europe's waters will soon become under surveillance from drones supplied by innovative Rotherham company, Martek Marine.

The Manvers firm is set for major expansion after being named as part of a €67m (£58m) contract - the world's largest ever maritime drone contract.

Martek Marine is one of the world leaders in the supply of safety and environmental monitoring systems for the shipping industry.

The ground breaking two-year Remotely Piloted Aircraft Services (RPAS) contract from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will see Martek support the work of Coast Guards using drones.

Part of a five-year EMSA strategy of improving coastguard monitoring and surveillance of maritime activity valued at €67m, the service provision from Martek not only includes the drones, but also the pilots, long-range antennae, mission control vehicles and ground crew. Video and drone sensor data will be streamed live to a control centre, to allow EU Member States to make prompt decisions on intervention actions.

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>Martek launched in 1999 with three employees and £6,000 in start up capital in the smallest unit in the RiDO-run Century Business Centre. It now employs over 60 people at purpose built premises in Adwick Park and its products can be found in vessels across the globe. It has expanded into different areas including the medical sector, supplying defibrillators to airlines and leisure and sport venues.

The company spotted a gap in the market for commercial drones which could be used in a variety of sectors and industries throughout the world, including marine and emergency services. Establishing a new division called COPTRZ, Martek Marine has already landed contracts with fire services, police authorities, universities and owners of wind turbines.

In November, Martek landed a €10m (£8.58m) framework contract with the EMSA to monitor pollution in Europe's waters. COPTRZ provided consultancy on both contracts.
In the latest contract, drones will be used to perform beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations and will assist with border control activities, search and rescue operations and monitoring of pollution, as well as the detection of illegal fishing and drug and people trafficking.

A typical surveillance task involves the deployment of a drone from the deck of a ship to a specified area of interest. The drone then collects requested surveillance information before sending it, in addition to payload data, to the users.

Paul Luen, CEO of the Martek Group, said: "This contract sets us up for major expansion as THE maritime drone experts. More world firsts will be delivered by us in this exciting technology field during 2017, as we launch further disruptive drone services."

Martek Marine website

Images: Martek Marine


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