Zelensky: Ukraine to start fundraising for Maritime Drones fleet

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that next week Ukraine will launch a fundraising campaign for a fleet of marine drones, through the state fundraising platform UNITED24.

“This is only for the protection of our marine water area. We don’t claim anything that doesn’t belong to us,” Zelensky said in his evening address.

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Ukraine is also working closely with the partners to get more tanks, armor, artillery, and air defense, Zelensky said.

“In the coming weeks, we expect good news regarding air defense and anti-missile defense for Ukraine,” he said.

The statement follows a recent underwater drone attack in Sevastopol Bay that reportedly damaged a Russian minesweeper and a dam.Russia accused Ukraine of the attack. Ukraine hasn’t confirmed its involvement.

What is a Maritime Drone?

A maritime drone is an uncrewed vehicle built to withstand challenging oceanic environments to conduct inspections, security, search and rescue, environmental monitoring, and other special use cases.

Maritime drones are becoming more popular to improve safety and efficiency while reducing operational expenses.

Other names for maritime drones may include naval UAVs or sea drones; these all refer to drones being used at sea. While maritime drones face challenges, there is a strong argument for their adoption as the technology advances.

In this guide on maritime drones, we’ll take a deep dive into the following topics:

What is a Maritime Drone?
What Are Maritime Drones Used For?
Benefits of Using a Maritime Drone
Use Cases for a Maritime Drone
Types of Maritime Drones

What is a Maritime Drone?

Maritime drones are used in the maritime industry, including drones flying and traveling through the water. However, this article will focus solely on airborne applications as they are more common.

The use of sea drones continues to garner popularity; as recently as 2021, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) awarded a €30M contract to TEKEVER for aerial surveillance of European waters. 

Drones are adaptive tools that are compatible with a range of applications. Adopting maritime drone technology is a significant step forward, and other international agencies will likely follow suit in adding drones into their fleet.

What Are Maritime Drones Used For?

Maritime drones operate in many environments that are confined, tough to navigate, and dangerous for crewed inspections or missions. Not to mention the time it takes to inspect and monitor when sending people into unknown situations. 

Let’s take a look at how maritime drones are being used:

Maritime drones operate in many environments that are

Cargo Hold Inspections

The cargo compartments of a ship are not exactly a desirable place for a human to be. 

Often, ships fail cargo hold inspections because of residual residues, peeling paint, and rust found in hard-to-access areas of the hold. 

Inspections are conducted for cleanliness to ensure that the cargo hold is clean and prepared correctly before new items are loaded into the space. 

Many countries have strict regulations for cargo hold tank maintenance; even having one grain of a contaminant could result in a failed inspection. 

Some examples of inspection failure contaminants include:

  • Peeling paint 
  • Rust and corroded surfaces 
  • Cereal
  • Stock feed 
  • Grains 
  • Feathers 
  • Soil 
  • Sand

Accessing the nooks and crannies where these contaminants are located is difficult because of their location. One must also consider the time and resources required to send a crew into the hold to inspect such a large area. 


By using a maritime drone, the hold is inspected quickly and efficiently to identify potential issues and remedy them. Doing so improves the crew’s safety and reduces the ship’s downtime 

Ballast and Fuel Tank Inspection

In terms of dangerous places, inspecting ballast and fuel tanks is hazardous and unbelievably time-consuming. Depending on the ship, inspections can go beyond several hundred hours. 

The longer a ship is down for inspection and any subsequent repairs, the more resources are required. Choosing to use an indoor maritime drone can reduce inspection times by 90%

Drones also can cover 100% of a surface area far more efficiently and accurately compared to crewed inspections. Additionally, because of the efficiency, ballast and fuel tank inspections can be performed more frequently, improving the longevity of these critical components. 

Port and Ship to Shore Crane Inspection

Inspecting the inside of large maritime cranes is expensive, time-consuming, and physically demanding work. However, sea drones make inspections of these large metallic structures more efficient, safer, and more data-oriented. 

Maintenance crews can pinpoint structural and component defects and create a repair or replacement plan by visually inspecting in combination with AI software. Due to the sheer size, drones also eliminate the need for humans to climb these structures.

Like other forms of inspection, the integration of a maritime drone program allows for more frequent inspections to bolster preventive maintenance and future planning.

Maritime Drone Search and Rescue

First responders have been using drones on land for years, from fire fighting to locating missing people in dangerous situations. Drones are deployed far quicker and cheaper than traditional search vehicles like helicopters. 

Until recently, they were not used as often for maritime search and rescue missions due to challenging weather conditions and limitations of the technology. However, with their proven track record for saving lives, the technology for search and rescue sea drones is rapidly improving.  

In fact, lifeguards have been testing drones that drop flotation devices that inflate upon impact. In Australia, two teenage boys were able to swim to shore after a Ripper Lifesaver drone deployed a life-saving flotation device. 

An interesting aspect of this story is that the first responders did not have to go out to sea, which improves safety and reduces the resources usually required for an emergency. 


Drone to Ship Deliveries

Operating ships is expensive, and stopping at ports for parts, important documents, or other essential resources costs time and money. There are also boat delivery services that go out to the ship but still cost thousands of dollars.

With drones already in use for land deliveries, it only makes sense that drones would be a less expensive and practical option for maritime deliveries going forward. 

Benefits of Using a Maritime Drone 

Maritime drones are intended to be useful tools to help operations become more efficient. The following are benefits of using drones for maritime applications:

  • Reduced downtime of ships, cranes, and other critical infrastructure. 
  • Humans are not exposed to heights, heavy equipment, and dangerous gasses associated with maritime inspections and operations. 
  • Depending on the assessment, drones can reduce inspection times by days to several hundred hours. 
  • Drone inspections require less personnel and resources, which significantly reduces expenses. 
  • Visual data is collected remotely, removing humans from danger.
  • Inspections are more detailed and accurate. 
  • Inspections are conducted more frequently due to drone technology’s time and money savings. 
  • Maritime drones aid in covering large borders, and securing military bases, ships, and security-sensitive infrastructure. 
  • Search and rescue teams can locate missing persons and deliver life-saving equipment allowing more time for first responders to develop a plan. 
  • Using drones for search and rescue missions improves response time and limits exposure to dangerous conditions. 
  • Maritime drone deliveries can drop off essential documents, medicine, or parts to ships without returning to port. 


Source : FlyABILITY

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