Drones launched from Vessels

22 June 2016

We would like to bring to Members’ attention a recent incident involving the launch of a drone from a vessel. The motivation was innocent, namely to document the vessel proceeding through the Suez Canal. However, the use of the drone led to an investigation by the local authorities, likely due to concern that the drone was being used for illegal purposes, and resulted in confiscation of the drone and memory card, as well as detention of the vessel by the Egyptian authorities.

Seafarers should therefore exercise caution when using drones, particularly when a vessel is in port or within a country’s territorial waters. Any applicable local regulations, which can vary greatly from country to country, should also be followed, so as to avoid an incident which may result in a fine, detention of the vessel and/or prosecution of personnel.