As a body of the European Union, EMSA sits at the heart of the EU maritime safety network and collaborates with many industry stakeholders and public bodies, in close cooperation with the European Commission.
EMSA aims to be the EU reference point for maritime data, including satellite data for the maritime domain, in order to avoid duplications with other EU programmes. The purpose of the EMSA Core Services is to provide technical and scientific assistance to the European Commission and Member States in the proper development and implementation of EU legislation on maritime safety, pollution by ships and security on board ships.
The monitoring of European waters is particularly challenging as the EU is an inundated peninsula with an extensive external coastline and several significant semi-enclosed seas. Due to the large sea areas involved and to the transboundary behaviour of deliberate, illegal oil discharges the EU Member States tasked the European Marine Safety Agency (EMSA) to develop an operational satellite monitoring system: CleanSeaNet.
Within the GMES programme, EMSA has established close relationships with the European Space Agency and is increasing its operational cooperation with ESA. This is due to EMSA’s links with the maritime sector which is useful to ESA when developing new services for that user group. Additionally, CleanSeaNet is recognized by the Commission as being a GMES service. Recently the Agency has been given the possibility to use the Data Access Grant under GMES for financing emergency acquisitions. This gives EMSA access to a broad portfolio of radar and optical satellite data, which can be used for monitoring environmental and security related accidents and incidents. CleanSeaNet has been developed to support improvements in terms of greater consistency, efficiency and effectiveness of the national oil spill response activities and is recognised as a fully operational maritime GMES service.
This is a near-real-time satellite-based oil spill and vessel monitoring service, implying downloading and processing the L1b products in 10 mins and analysis of the satellite data to end-user within 30 mins of overpass. The service entered into operation on 16 April 2007 and it is continually being expanded and improved and provides a range of different products to the Commission and to EU Member States, and to other governmental and institutional partners as appropriate.
The applications covered by the EMSA Core Services include the following: