Earthrace historically relied on charter vessels for most of our fishery campaigns, however we recently started acquiring our own vessels to increase our operational effectiveness. The first of these was a Zodiac Milpro FC-470 which was sponsored by Zodiac. Next came a sponsored Sealegs Amphibious vessel, and in 2018 we acquired a Willard 7.4m tactical RIB, now our main boat-boarding platform. In November 2018, we purchased the 45m (150ft) vessel the Modoc, a former US Navy and US Coastguard vessel that is now our base of operations.
In terms of airborne assets, we first started using drones in 2013, and since then have deployed with a variety of civilian and military systems. In 2019 our team was factory trained at Schiebel in Austria, and their CAMCOPTER® S-100 has become our main airborne surveillance asset. With a ceiling altitude of 18,000ft, standard endurance of 6 hours, and a variety of electro-optical options, the S-100 has substantially improved our surveillance capabilities (more). We do still on occasion also charter helicopters and planes, but this is more for moving personnel (say onto an island, coastline or jungle), rather than for surveillance.
In this mission we went all the way to Cocos Island in our Sealegs Amphib, and just on daybreak managed to gather evidence of 7 boats fishing illegally inside the Marine Protected Area. The Sealegs has been a key asset for us since 2013.
We hired a local trimaran and hid our zodiac on the stern. Once we got a suitable target (in this case a 120ft Vietnamese vessel), we launched the zodiac and boarded them. The vessel has over 15 ton of illegally taken fish on board, including several endangered species, and was run jointly with the Philippines Maritime Police.
We started playing around with drones many years ago. This was one of the first we tried. Extremely hard to fly, and with very limited endurance. In fact we crashed it on first take-off attempt. The technology has comer so far from these days. Click here for details on our Schiebel S-100 UAS
We will often charter airborne assets, either for surveillance, or to put men where they need to be. In this mission,m we charted a UH1H Bell helicopter, and rappelled from it into the jungle where we knew illegal gold miners were operating.