EMSA supporting EU Naval Force missions in Somalia and Libya

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has revealed its intention to support EU Naval Force operations through the signing of two cooperation agreements with EU NAVFOR Somalia and EUNAVFOR MED.

Photo by: EMSA

EMSA has been supporting the EU NAVFOR-Somalia Atalanta operation since April 2011 when piracy off the coast of Somalia was at its peak. Operation Atalanta targets counter-piracy and the protection of vulnerable vessels and humanitarian shipments off the coast of Somalia.

Now, EMSA will be providing EU NAVFOR with access to an integrated maritime monitoring solution that offers the possibility of consulting vessel position data, central reference databases and earth observation products. This is integrated with EU NAVFOR data – such as vessel risk level based on vulnerability assessments – creating a specifically tailored maritime awareness picture, according to the officials.

Example of an Earth Observation product delivered through EMSA’s IMS portal; Photo by: EMSA

On the other hand, operation Irini seeks to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya and in doing so contribute to the country’s peace process.

The EUNAVFOR MED operation Irini began on 31 March 2020 with the core task of implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya using aerial, satellite and maritime assets.

While EMSA has been providing satellite AIS data to EUNAVFOR MED since 2015, the new cooperation agreement allows for access to EMSA’s integrated maritime services platform and in particular to the agency’s automated behavior monitoring (ABM) capabilities, the press office stated.

These services help EUNAVFOR officers to keep a close eye on Libya’s ports as well as to monitor the flow of maritime traffic and target suspicious vessels for inspection picked up by the ABM tool.

While the agreement is open ended, operation Irini’s mandate is expected to run until 31 March 2023.