Drones in the port of Rotterdam

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or drones are becoming increasingly popular. They are fun to fly and can be used for more and more purposes. Still, you are not allowed to fly a drone wherever you like. After all, these aircraft can not only be used to make beautiful photos and videos of the port area – they can also be used to less sympathetic ends. Reconnaissance for criminal activities, for example. Or espionage (reading information off a computer screen or display panel, for instance), or to film people without their consent.

For safety reasons, anyone operating a drone needs to abide by the rules, and in many cases, you need to have a permit. Drones can be used both by private citizens for recreational purposes and by professionals in a commercial context.

Private operators

One example of recreational use is flying a drone to take pictures for your personal enjoyment. Private drone pilots need to comply with strict regulations. For example, the drone needs to remain in the operator’s sight at all times. A number of areas are off limits for drone flights, including:

  • The airspace in a large radius around airfields and heliports
  • Above contiguous built-up areas and industrial areas
  • Above crowds
  • Protected nature areas

Private operators are never allowed to fly a drone over port areas – including marinas.

The drone map offers a fairly detailed overview of which areas you are and are not permitted to fly over with a drone. The map specifies which areas are always off limits for drones (and this may include open fields). In other words, the general prohibitions apply in areas that do not have any extra markings.

Professional operators

Professional or commercial flight of a drone is understood as the use of a drone for economic or operational purposes. Companies and professional drone pilots are only permitted to use a drone if they have been issued a permit or exemption by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT). This document will specify which requirements have been set for the drone, the pilot controlling the drone and the company operating the flights.

In addition to a permit, professional flights over the port area always need to have a special exemption. Permits and exemptions are issued by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT). The ILT website also provides further details on what is and is not allowed with regard to drone flights.

Authorised companies

ILT has authorised a number of companies in the Netherlands to fly drones over port areas. These companies are completely up to date on where and how the aircraft can be used and will handle all the mandatory notifications.

An overview of the authorised companies can be accessed via this link(In Dutch)

Where can you report a drone-related incident?

It is important that you report drone-related incidents to the police. The police can take action when a drone is in breach of regulations or is causing nuisance of any kind.
Please call 009-8844 and provide as many details as possible about the location, the drone itself and the pilot.

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