EU-UNODC Cooperation on Maritime Security and Surveillance

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

October 30, 2018

Pic: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Pic: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

The European Union and the Global Maritime Crime Programme of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC GMCP) have a long and effective relation in building capacities to tackle maritime crimes.

The EU and the Global Maritime Crime Programme of UNODC started partnering in 2010 to support Eastern African states (Kenya, Seychelles, Mauritius and Tanzania) prosecuting piracy incidents off the coast of Somalia.

Currently, the EU and UNODC GMCP are jointly working on  capacity building support in Somalia, including training and mentoring of the Mogadishu Maritime Police Unit.

The Global Maritime Crime Programme is currently preparing with the European Union new projects related to support of strengthening criminal justice systems in West and Central Africa (SWAIMS and PASSMAR) as well as in the Indian Ocean in support to strengthen the Kenyan Coastguard.

Since 2009, the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme (UNODC GMCP) has supported developing countries in raising capacities for patrolling and controlling their maritime zones and so detecting potential criminal activities maritime domain awareness, achieving legal reforms, and investigating and prosecuting maritime crimes. UNODC has unique field experience, including in post conflict countries.

Copernicus is the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, which is a satellite monitoring programme. It offers information services based on satellite Earth Observation and in situ (non-space) data. The programme is coordinated and managed by the European Commission, implemented in partnership with EU Member States, key European Agencies and other international partners such as the UN.

The Copernicus Security Service supports EU policy by providing information in response to Europe's security challenges. It improves crisis prevention, preparedness and response in three key areas: maritime surveillance, border surveillance, and support to EU External Action.

The total budget for Copernicus maritime security service for 2018 will be €7.9 million. The Copernicus Maritime Surveillance (CMS) Service provides inter alia satellite images to support a better understanding and improved monitoring of activities at sea, within a wide range of operational functions such as maritime safety and security, fisheries control, customs, law enforcement, marine environment monitoring, and others (e.g. defence).

The UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme has, in recent years, undertaken an innovative cooperation with the EU Copernicus Programme for the provision of satellite services in several countries, particularly developing ones.

The UNODC GMCP has orchestrated several maritime exercises with the use of satellite and value added products provided, under restricted conditions, from EU Copernicus through the Copernicus Maritime Surveillance service, implemented by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

These images are complemented by UNODC training and simulation exercises in operations room and at sea, conducted by GMCP embedded advisors. Participating Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies use EU Copernicus satellite products to conduct maritime operations aimed at inspecting in real-time suspect targets.

Through the technology provided by EU Copernicus and with the mentoring and training from the UNODC embedded advisors, several maritime law enforcement agencies, mostly from developing countries, have increased their operational capacities to enforce law at sea.

UNODC GMCP in cooperation with EU Copernicus, and specifically the Copernicus Maritime Surveillance service provided by EMSA, have conducted several exercises. They have led to inspections of suspect targets and arrest of suspect vessels in several countries: Sao Tome-et-Principe; Senegal, Guinea Bissau and the Gambia; Togo; Liberia; Senegal, Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, also in cooperation with the French Navy.

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