Today, at the margins of the EDA Steering Board in Capabilities Directors formation, two EDA Member States, Bulgaria and Latvia, plus Norway, joined the Maritime Surveillance (MARSUR) community by signing the Technical Arrangement “Live phase”. The 15 initial participating Member States are Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Spain, Finland, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.
Maritime situational awareness is the effective understanding of activities, associated with and occurring in the maritime domain, that could im¬pact on the security, safety and environment of the European Union and its Member States. The project is coordinated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) since September 2006, following a mandate given by the EU Defence Ministers in late 2005. MARSUR aims at creating a network using existing naval and maritime information exchange systems. Overall goals are to avoid duplication of effort and the use of available technologies, data and information; to enhance cooperation in a simple, efficient and low-cost solution for civil-military cooperation; and to support safety and security.
The MARSUR Networking Project has successfully highlighted the fundamental need to control the maritime domain information. This network enables the exchange of maritime surveillance information between participating maritime countries, connecting multiple national systems in real time, while there is no central EU component that collects, processes and distributes the information. Each country is responsible for correlating its own data with the data received from others.
The total common costs of MARSUR project is €930.000. A large amount of this investment was spent on the definition and development of the key component of the network: the interface linking the existing national systems. On top of this, Member States have to plug in their national systems into the interface.
Furthermore, 12 of those Member States plus Norway signed today a €1 million Project Arrangement, which is very promising in terms of future cooperation and operational efficiency. This Category B programme aims at further developing the technical elements necessary to use MARSUR in a fully operational context. The Project Arrangement sets out the provisions for managing the MARSUR Development Project. Specifically, it outlines the tools necessary to implement a secure network for the exchange of classified information in the support of CSDP operations, to maximize cooperation whilst maintaining appropriate levels of security. This programme will be fully operational in 2014.