Schiebel is providing its CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for maritime deployment with the non-profit organization Earthrace Conservation in order to support global environment and wildlife protection activities.
Deployed onboard the Earthrace vessel M/Y MODOC, a CAMCOPTER S-100 system is currently supporting operations in South America. Its main tasks involve finding and monitoring illegal fishing, identifying wildlife smuggling, hunting poachers, locating illegal gold miners, and rescuing illegally held animals.
In one of its recent operations of global interest in July 2022, the ship monitored a Chinese squid fleet in international waters west of the Galapagos Islands. The ships have been accused of various illegal activities in recent years, including:
- Fishing illegally in Ecuadorian and Argentinian waters
- Spoofing of Automatic Identification System (AIS) by transmitting fake GPS data
- Human rights violations
Equipped with a Trakka TC-300 Electro-Optical / Infra-Red (EO/IR) camera gimbal and an AIS receiver, the S-100 has proved to be a key asset to the Earthrace team, conducting regular flights that have allowed close monitoring and assessment of the fleet and its activities outside the Ecuadorian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“The Chinese squid fleet is one of the largest on the planet, with an estimated 500 vessels. The S-100 significantly broadens the MODOC’s area of operation and allows us to keep a close watch on the fleet,” said Earthrace founder, Captain Pete Bethune. “The fact that they are being observed has already led to a reduction in illegal activities.”
Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group, added: “I am very pleased to be able to support Earthrace with our proven and unrivalled UAS capability. Detecting illegal activities from the sky, using an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV), is a hugely important capability for Earthrace’s missions and its endeavor of protecting the environment and wildlife for future generations.”