MARSUR, Europe’s maritime security project

Military and civilian situational awareness practitioners have met in Hamburg, Germany to learn and share experiences with the aim of enhancing security at sea within the European MARSUR project.

The Maritime Surveillance project (MARSUR) was launched in September 2006 by the European Defence Agency (EDA) following a tasking by the EU-Defence Ministers.

The aim of the undertaking was to create 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 military and civil cooperation, and to support safety and security.

After extensive work by fifteen Member States the project came to a decisive point as it entered the end of the demonstration phase for a basic MARSUR-Network. The live demonstration during the Distinguished Visitors Day (DV-Day) on 30 June 2011 was using the connections between independent systems from Italy, Finland, France, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Spain and Sweden.

On October 27, 2011 Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britan and Northern Ireland, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, signed the Technical Agreement (TA) for the MARSUR Live Phase, followed in 2012 by Bulgaria, Latvia and Norway.

The MARSUR Live Phase aims to further develop a capability that fulfills the need of maritime surveillance information sharing and networking whilst maximizing interoperability and standardization.

The MARSUR Operational Working Group which took place on June 14 and 15 in Hamburg facilitated first training for the operators in charge of acquiring and processing maritime situational awareness data.

A total of 20 participants from 9 nations were hosted by the Helmut-Schmidt University this year at the invitation of the German Department of Defense.

Apart from theoretical training and practical connectivity exercises, exchange of experience was at the forefront of the event.