From August to November 2016, MUMM organised the Belgian Sniffer Campaign 2016, during this period, MUMM has successfully implemented airborne MARPOL Annex VI monitoring for the first time on a broad temporal and spatial scale in an operational coast guard context in the North Sea. In the 45 monitoring days, 135 flight hours were performed and Fuel Sulphur Content (FSC) measurements have been carried out on more than 1300 ships, this means that an average of 10 ships could be monitored per flight hour. Almost 100 non-compliant ships were observed (8%) with a FSC value above the 0.2% threshold. A detailed data-analysis revealed no significant difference between different ship types, nor sizes, nor flag states. Not even the destination (inside or outside SECA) seemed to have an impact on the compliance level, although it was observed that a higher incompliance level was observed in shipping lanes at a certain distance from shore than in port entry zones. The airborne MARPOL Annex VI monitoring and subsequent reporting of targeted vessels to PSC resulted in a significant increase in the efficiency of port inspections (from 3 to 20%), but still a lot of aerial monitoring observations failed to be confirmed by/during on board inspections. The crew has gained a substantial amount of experience in the execution of airborne MARPOL Annex VI monitoring flights with a sniffer sensor. At this stage 85% of the ship approaches produce a successful measurement. The experiences from the campaign were used in the further development of the Best Practice Report on Airborne MARPOL Annex VI Monitoring by MUMM. The sniffer installation in the Belgian aircraft OO-MMM is producing satisfying results; the IGPS software has been installed on several computers including the on board mission computer. The software has improved significantly since the start of the campaign, mainly the manual measurement system is working very well, although some uncertainties on measurement accuracy and the very occasional occurrence of unreliable FSC measurements are still a concern. This ComMon experience has demonstrated that the airborne monitoring information can be used very efficiently for the targeting of ship inspections in port. But future work is needed in terms of both broad-scaled validation and inter-comparison campaigns and sensor standardization, in order to improve the understanding, assessment and reporting of airborne monitoring data, and to facilitate the use of airborne monitoring data as evidence to court.
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