Conference Minutes

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II CONFERENCE FOR THE HEAD OF THE COAST GUARDS OF THE EU MEMBER STATES AND SCHENGEN ASSOCIATED COUNTRIES

Date: 7-8 April 2010
Participants: Commanders (or Deputies) of EU and SAC Coast Guards

1. The II Coast Guard Conference was held in Mijas (Spain) and was organized by Guardia Civil in the framework of the Spanish Presidency in EU. The costs of the conference room as well as the costs of the participants were covered by Frontex.

The conference was opened by General of the Brigade Santiago Macarron who introduced the general situation of Coast Guard in Spain which is in charge of patrolling 8000 km of Spanish coastline. Spain operates SIVE surveillance system and cooperates closely with Portugal as regards the surveillance in the Northern Atlantic.
Gen Macarron mentioned the cooperation with Frontex and visible results of the Frontex efforts. It is shown by the decrease of illegal migration in Spain in the last years. General stressed also that Spain plans to deepen the cooperation with third countries

2. First panel was dedicated to maritime integrated surveillance and protection borders

a) DG JFS – Charmaine Hili

Ms Hili presented the development of European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR). The objective of EUROSUR is to establish mechanism of cooperation which will enable border control authorities to cooperate better (mainly to reduce the number of illegal migrants, reduce the number of death cases at sea, prevent cross border crime). The pilot project starts with 6 National Coordination Centers (Spain, Italy, France, Slovakia, Poland, and Finland) and Frontex in 2010. Frontex is working on EUROSUR data model together with member States. This project si closely linked with BlueMassMed and Marsuno. The main components of the technical framework are: NCC, National Surveillance System, Frontex and secure communication network. The priority for MS in 2010-211 should be establishment of NCC's. The system will be decentralized, NCC's will be connected to each other but not necessarily all of them will be connected to Frontex. EUROSUR will be developed in 3 phases: first interlinking and streaming existing surveillance system and mechanism at MS level, secondly developing common tools for border surveillance at EU level, thirdly creating common information sharing environment for EU maritime domain..

b) DG Move – Patrick Weinheimer

Mr Weinheimer focused on EU maritime security. DG Move mainly focuses on the security of ports, related facilities and EU flagged ships. Currently, a control and monitoring system for the three aforementioned categories is in place. With regard to the management of external borders, it is the Community Customs Code enabling DG Move to carry out such controls. The latest inspections results tend to show gaps in awareness about the current rules and regulations, which can easily be filled through training exercises. At the moment three studies by DG Move are topical: a port access cards study (on unified and standardized access cards), an security threats exchange system study and the TAPS II study on technical aspects of port security [eventually of interest for the FOO in Greece – contents: securing ports and related facilities, fencing, safety standards, etc

DG Mare, Isto Mattila,
Mr. Mattila spoke about the coordination of maritime surveillance. Currently the DG is busy in creating a CISE (common information sharing environment), which would produce added value in terms of awareness (cross-sector and cross-border). CISE focuses on information sharing limited to a need to know and need to share basis. DG Mare does not intend to set standards, but to build bridges between the different standards. The system would be based on open source. The legal proposal for it is awaited in 2013. A MS expert group on Integrated Maritime Surveillance is in charge of creating the basis for the system.

b) Sweden and Finland Pilot Project in the Baltic Sea

Sweden and Finland presented the pilot project MARSUNO (with a budget of 2 millions euro) which objective was to achieve a better interoperability among existing monitoring and tracking systems. There are 10 participating countries (23 public authorities) taking part in the project. The most important objective is to test the capacity of project partners to exchange surveillance and monitoring information. The capacity is relating to:
joint maritime surveillance operational procedures between law enforcement authorities; extent to which project partners are potentially able to set up an exchange of information mechanism; identifying legal, administrative and technical obstacles that may hinder the exchange of the above mentioned information on a long-term basis. Sweden explained the Maritime Situation Awareness layer of the project which is about the understanding of safety, security, economy & the marine environment and involves governments, ports and shipping companies. Finland presented the Integrated Border Management and Law Enforcement layer of the project. The main objectives are: regional arrangements for joint surveillance, patterns of safe exchange of information, improved awareness and patterns of sea-related risk analysis criminal intelligence.
Sweden and Finland were regularly consulting the Commission regarding EUROSUR.
Russia was invited to take part in the project as a partner but finally did not manage to be involved. Russia is however taking part in the workshops.

c) France and Italy Pilot project BLUEMASSMED

The Bluemassmed project is an innovative initiative from the European Commission aiming at increasing the cooperation for maritime surveillance in the Mediterranean Sea. France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain have decided to cooperate on this specific project to strengthen their common actions against illicit trafficking, illegal immigration and environmental pollution. It will also permit to reinforced the Search and Rescue efforts in the area. This pilot project granted by the European Commission and co-funded by 6 Member States countries (France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain) is the first state-centered action to integrate such an important field between Member States countries.

d) Frontex joint operations – Rustamas Liubajevas

Rustamas Liubajevas gave a brief presentation on Frontex activities in 2010. He explained the biggest challenges and solutions for Frontex operations: to ensure information exchange between stakeholders, to develop rules of engagement, to build specialized pool of experts, possibility of leasing/acquisition of technical equipment. Mr Liubajevas explained new development within European Patrols Network: maritime operational centers, positioning system, compatible operational image, interpreters network and standardization of procedures.

e) CFCA – Stephan Caderrand

Mr Caderrand stressed that cooperation between MS, Commission & CFCA should be intensified to promote compliance with CFP. He mentioned that the mandate of CFCA has enlarged and Agency may establish operational plans with the Member States, provide assistance/advice to MS, set up an emergency unit if serious risk to CFP is identified
CFCA is developing risk analysis, which determines where and when the joint operations should take place. Joint Deployment Plan is the main tool for the joint operations. They are coordinated by CFCA but lead by Member States.

f) Germany – Bodo Kaping

Germany presented the German Coast Guard Network. Within Maritime Safety and Security Centre which gathers all the law enforcement bodies there is Joint Emergency Reporting and Assessment Centre which is operating 24 hours per day. The network-structure approach practised in Germany can serve as a good example for the European Union. The various regional cooperations that have already been practiced could be developed into a Europe-wide network

h)Greece - Ioanis Karageorgopoulos

Greece focused on the latest developments related to search and rescue and examined the new council decision supplementing the SBC. Greece considers the latest developments with regard to the narrow voting results in the EP as a lost chance, since the Council decision does not clarify the picture for specific situations during JOs. The supplementing decision includes rules and non-binding guidelines on SAR and disembarkation. Although the latter was not binding, it would still act as bench-marks for Frontex operations. Greece does not forecast any major changes in the modus operandi as a result of this Council decision. The "new" rules and guideline mainly include changes in the following fields: border guard training, detailed operational plans, human rights would be paramount, a review clause after 2 years.

3. Second panel was dedicated to cooperation between Coast Guard Services in Europe

a) EMSA. CleanSeaNet – Marin Chinton-Uta

EMSA is Agency with the budget of over 50 million euro and 200 staff members established to improve maritime safety in the European waters. The main task is to provide technical and operational support to member States and Commission. Among main objectives are: to ensure the implementation of EU maritime legislation by MS; to foster technical cooperation and to provide technical advice to Commission and MS. Mr Chinton-Uta focused on the presentation of EMSA operational systems: two of them are based on communication satellites (CleanSeaNet and Long Range Identification and Tracking) and one based on AIS network – SafeSeaNet.
The philosophy of CleanSeanet is to build a top up system to assist member States capability to deal with oil spills. It is based on 2 satellites: Envisat and Radarsat. CleanSeaNet is delivering: satellite images, :"oil spill reports" and additional data as meteorological wind and wave data. The time between the acquisition of images and email alert to authorities concerned is 30 minutes. The Long Range Identification and Tracking is mandatory for all ships over 300 gross tonnage and provides ship position every six hours. The objective of the system apart from security is also search and rescue and pollution .Among users we have: flag states, Coastal State, Port State.
SafeSeaNet is linking together all AIS stations over the Europe and providing all ship traffic within European Coastal area.

b) CFCA – Stephan Caderrand

Mr. Caderrand stressed the necessity of patrolling the sea mainly to ensure the security of the EU but also to guarantee the safety of ships and the environment and to ensure that the sea resources are exploited within legal parameters. The main issues are the piracy and illegal migration. Mr. Caderrand stressed the need for close cooperation in the fisheries surveillance field in order to reduce operational costs. Potential fields of cooperation are: cooperating agreements between CFCA, EMSA and Frontex which would provide the ground for elaborating the exchange of information; training for border control officers on how the fisheries vessels operate; assets sharing in order to reduce costs. Members States should be involved in the cooperation in the all levels.
Profits for cooperation: increase of the efficiency through the intelligence sharing ; increase knowledge through the common training (to have application for legislation at the same

b) Italy

Italy presented the Adriatic- Ionian Imitative, which was established in 2000. The aim of this initiative is to link the coastal countries of the two seas for the purpose of cooperating
in the development and safety of the whole area. The issue of environmental protection is of high importance for the Adriatic region. There are 3 projects for AII: Integrated Coastal Zone management, Strategic Environmental Assessment of Maritime Activities, Contingency Plan for Adriatic

c) Iceland- Gylfi Geirsson

Icelandic Coast Guard has combined the coast guard operations, fisheries monitoring system, vessel traffic services and search and rescue into one integrated operations centre. There is one point of contact for maritime surveillance, border control, safety and security, illegal activity. Icelandic Coast Guard cooperates with NEAFC, NAFO, FAO, Nordic CG, NACGF.
Mr Geirsson reported on Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) in North Atlantic. The situation changed significantly in the past four years. The stringent measures proved to be effective and there very little IUU activity at the moment, mainly thanks to the NEAFC and NAFO Port State control and close cooperation between NEAFC CPs. Mr Geirsson also stressed the necessity to intensify the cooperation and to exchange the maritime surveillance data. He mentioned the training as very important and suggested the exchange of inspectors. Direct communication between inspection platforms should be also taken into consideration.

d) Portugal

Portugal presented the role of the Coastal Control Unit which is fulfilling the Guardia Nacional Republicana mission along the coast and in the territorial sea. The main competences are: prevention from customs fraud, monitoring of places which might be the place for drugs unshipping, environmental protection, harbor security, control of fishing activities. The unit operates 24 hours per day

e) UK – Rod Johnson

UK presented the role of British Coast Guard. As regards search and rescue does not have the law which enables Hamburg and Chicago Convention. Provisions of the conventions are transposed into British law in the variety of different regulations. The leading department for search and rescue issues is the Transport Ministry but the resources are provided by: Maritime and Coast Guard Agency, Ministry of Defense and Royal National Lifeboat Institution. There are 19 rescue coordination centers. UJ closely cooperates with Irish Coast Guard, France, and Belgium. Coast Guard also helps the Health Department in case of emergency. Coast Guard rents emergency vessels which belong to the government and are operated by professional company. UK uses the AIS system, which cover out to 30nm of UK coastline. Mr. Johnson said that UK tried to use NRIT system but it is operating slowly and is not fully integrated with the existing surveillance systems.

f) Spain

Spain presented the scope of activities of Salvamento Marittimo. It is a public body operating under Ministry of Infrastructure and Development. It's main activities include: search and rescue, maritime traffic, environment protection, spill oil pollution fighting.

4. Third panel was focusing on the best practices in International Cooperation

a) Cooperation in the Baltic Sea – Germany

Germany presented the BSRBCC (Baltic Sea Regional Initiative) activities. These include 10 MS with a rotating chairmanship. After a reform period of 2006-2009 a permanent secretariat has been established and a 24/7 NCC network. The most important structural tool is the Coastnet which enables the participating states to exchange information up to "secure". The BSRBCC is going to develop its cooperation with external partners in the future. Cooperation is envisaged with Belarus and the Black Sea Coordination Centre. In 2009 a number of technical expert seminars on document crime, cross-border crime, maritime and aviation as well as analysis took place.

b) Cooperation in the Black Sea – Bulgaria

Bulgaria presented the role of Black Sea Border coordination and information center. The main task of the centers are: updating list of suspected ships, observing safety navigation, 24 hours control and surveillance of the vessel traffic, collecting and analyzing of the information.

c) Mediterranean experience – Italy, Spain

Italian Coast Guard presented the main aims of MEDFORUM which are: exchanging experience, developing cooperation initiatives, granting the highest level of vigilance and control of maritime traffic. Medforum is a meeting gathering 23 Mediterranean countries and 27 observers countries as well as 11 international organizations.

5. Conclusions of the Conference

General:

  • Protection of human lives and respect of fundamental human rights are the key elements when acting at sea
  • Generic Coast Guard functions are as follows: border control, fisheries control, maritime safety, maritime security, vessel traffic management, accident and disaster response, maritime pollution response, law enforcement, search and rescue and maritime surveillance. All Coast Guard activities must be considered in their entirety
  • Invite MS/SAC to mobilize and coordinate all their available resources to ensure more effective control at sea for the above mentioned duties
  • The conference recommends the MS/SAC that EPN could be further strengthened as a platform for the MS/SAC authorities involved in maritime border control and to encourage information sharing and cooperation with the EUROSUR project, in order to combat illegal migration and trafficking in human beings and to reduce the threats to the internal security, public policy, public health and international relations of the MS/SAC
  • The conference also recommends the MS/SAC to continue developing the idea of establishing an integrated approach to maritime surveillance through a common information sharing environment; future development, conclusions and possible means of coordination may be communicated to the EU
  • A final recommendation would be to increase the participation of all the Institutions involved in Coast Guard duties and tasks in Joint Sea Operations organized by Frontex and CFCA.

Conference related:

  • The Secretariat shall have its next meeting within the next three months period. At this meeting a proposal for the vision and purposes of the conference should be drafted and then submitted to the MS/SAC for comments. A final proposal should then be drafted by the secretariat and decided upon at the next conference. Furthermore, during this meeting, the membership modifications and tasks of the Secretariat should be drafted and instructions given on how the future conferences should be organized.
  • Other issues that should be discussed in the agenda of the next Secretariat meeting are:
    o who and for which period should hold the chairmanship;
    o Portugal and Sweden express their interest in being the hosts of the next Conference;
    o procedures for obtaining the budget for the Conference should be established
  • Frontex, EMSA and CFCA should further consider the possibility to support, with human resources, technical equipments and/or financial contribution, the performance of the conference within their mandate
  • Third countries could be approached and invited to participate on the basis to be decided for future Conferences.

© Forum of the Heads of the Coast Guards
Functions of the European Union and
Schengen associated countries