Drone company Coptrz has enabled its sister company Martek Marine to win a ship emissions assessment contract from the European Maritime Safety Agency worth £8.5M (€10M).

The company’s drones would be deployed to track commercial ships, measuring the amount of sulphur and CO2 pollution they emit.

Martek Marine fronted the bid, and Coptrz provided expert consultancy, strategies, hardware and technical support needed to submit and win the tender, Coptrz said in a press release on 2 February.

It was expected that the project would start in the spring.

Managing director of Coptrz Steve Coulson said: “We look at drones and their potential from very much a blue-chip commercial viewpoint. We’re using our vast knowledge to help companies like Martek Marine deliver an amazing contract for a British company.”

Coptrz was created by a group of experienced drone operators from the global shipping industry and began trading in May 2016. The group said it realised the huge potential of the technology to revolutionise parts of many different sectors.

The global shipping industry currently emits 1,000M tonnes of CO2/year, meaning it is responsible for 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions (see ‘Biofuel potential for global shipping’, OFI November/December 2016). Some 60M tonnes of vegetable oils are shipped around the world as part of global seaborne trade.