Contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) are a focus in marine protection. Several CECs are released with wastewater effluents to coastal environments and their offshore occurrence has been recently documented. Routine monitoring is key for implementing marine protection acts, however infrastructural, financial, and technical limitations hinder this task along broad spatial transects. Here we show the efficacy of a new infrastructure enabling unmanned sampling of surface water from ships of opportunity in providing reliable and cost-effective routine monitoring of CECs along a Europe-Arctic transect. The distribution and long-range transport of several pharmaceuticals and personal care products, artificial food additives, and stimulants were assessed. Validation of operations through strict procedural and analytical quality criteria is presented. A framework to estimate a compound-specific spatial range (SR) index of marine long-range transport based on monitoring results and information on source spatial distribution, is introduced. Estimated SR values ranged 50–350 km depending on compound, yielding a ranking of long-range transport potential which reflected expectations based on degradation half-lives. SR values were used to calculate prior maps of detection probability that can be used to plan future routine monitoring in the region.