EU Improves Maritime Surveillance
New efforts to improve security for European waters.
Maritime surveillance: Joining forces with Member States for safer seas and oceans
The European Commission today took a further step towards more effective and cost-efficient surveillance of European Seas. By bringing together surveillance data from civil and military authorities like coast guards, navies, traffic monitoring, environmental and pollution monitoring, fisheries and border control, duplication of work can be avoided and savings of up to €400 million per year can be made. Increased cooperation and sharing of data would help cope more efficiently with real time events at sea such as accidents, pollution incidents, crime or security threats. CISE, the Common Information Sharing Environment for the maritime domain, aims at making all the relevant actors come together and share data. CISE is one of the building blocks of the recently adopted European Maritime Security Strategy.
Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “Sustainable economic growth within the maritime sector can only be ensured if our seas and oceans are safe and secure. CISE aims to make sure that all involved maritime surveillance actors have a complete picture of all events at sea. Sharing such information is key to avoid duplication in collection of data and for the use of patrol ships, planes, helicopters or satellites in the same sea areas. Today, about 40% of information is collected several times and 40% to 80% of information is not shared amongst the interested users. We cannot afford such a waste of efforts and money”.
Today’s Communication by the Commission presents the good progress made at EU and national level since the CISE roadmap was elaborated in 2010 and the strong commitment of all actors in this field. It also proposes guidance and priorities for further action both at national and EU levels. Main focus should be to further enhance information exchange – in particular between civil and military authorities, to better interconnect existing maritime surveillance systems and make them inter-operational. This will bring increased efficiency, quality, responsiveness and co-ordination of maritime surveillance operations in EU waters as well as any other geographical area where the EU has a vital interest. It will help create a safer investment climate for blue growth and enhance the prosperity and security of EU citizens.
In the near future, the Commission intends to launch a project under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for Research in order to test Maritime CISE on a large scale. It will also produce a handbook, together with Member States, on best practice recommendations on how to apply CISE based on experience from existing systems and pilot projects like MARSUNO, Bluemassmed and Cooperation. The Commission will also continue to support measures to develop standards to allow inter-operability between systems.
EU member states carry out maritime surveillance and will continue doing so. However, various surveillance authorities across Europe have insufficient access to each other’s information. Through the use of state of the art technology, CISE will integrate existing surveillance systems and networks and make systems interoperable.
Enhancing information exchange between maritime surveillance authorities is one of the key strategic objectives of the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy and an important building block of the recent Maritime Security Strategy. Strengthening the security of seas and oceans is also an essential part of the blue growth agenda to create growth and jobs in the maritime economy.
The EU has vital interest in maritime issues within the EU and around the globe and needs to be able to safeguard those interests adequately and efficiently.
Of its 28 Member States, 23 are coastal states and 26 are Flag States.
EU Member States are responsible for the control of a coastline of over 90 000 kilometres in length, bordering two oceans and four seas, in addition to overseas territories and national security installations throughout other oceans. They together have more than 1 200 commercial ports; more than 8 100 flagged vessels (over 500 GT); 4 300 registered maritime companies; 764 big ports and more than 3 800 port facilities. There are 80 Registered Security Operators appointed by the Member States.
90% of the EU’s external trade and 40% of its internal trade is transported by sea.
European ship owners manage 30% of the world’s vessels and 35% of world shipping tonnage – inter alia 55% of container vessels and 35% of tankers, representing 42% of the value of global seaborne trade.
More than 400 million passengers pass through EU ports each year.
Over 20% of world tonnage is registered under EU Member States flag and over 40 % of world fleet is controlled by EU companies.
Around 300 public authorities are active in maritime surveillance activities in the EU and its Member States.