The coast guard keeps an eye on the sea

Coast guard

Belgian Coast Guard leading in the international fight against air pollution above the sea

Since 2016 our coastguard partner Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences (RBINS) has been using a so-called ‘sniffer’ sensor on board the Belgian Coastguard aircraft for the airborne monitoring of ship-source atmospheric pollution in the North Sea. With this innovative sensor ship emissions can be measured offshore and based on that the fuel sulphur content of ships can be calculated. This enables a more effective monitoring of ship emission standards and the identification of potential offenders.

Our country is a real pioneer in this activity. We already co-operate with the Netherlands, and other North Sea countries are also considering following our example. This monitoring programme does not only arouse a lot of interest within the EU, our approach even attracted great attention in Canada and China! The international interest motivates the scientists of the Belgian aerial surveillance to continue to strive for a joint, strengthened enforcement of atmospheric pollution from ships.