Mar 152010

I'll be seeing you, not so much Big Brother as Auntie EMSA

For the first time, EMSA’s new SafeSeaNet tracking module, called STIRES, allows authorities to see all commercial vessels in and around EU waters in a single view. This will be soon be followed by the picture for the whole world.

The information has been available to EU member states in the SafeSeaNet system for some time, but this is the first time that users will be able to see it in a fully interactive, multi-functional display.

“This approach will give Member State users a whole range of important new
capabilities to work with,” says EMSA Executive Director, Willem de Ruiter. “Instead of just accessing a database, they will be able to see the whole near-real-time situation for the EU displayed on a map right in front of them, and to select all ships, ports, sea areas and many other elements at the click of a button. Much better still, we will soon be in a position to offer an integrated display system which will be able to identify and locate ships anywhere in the world and also show the EU pollution and accident pictures. The user base is expanding all the time, with port state control officers being among the latest to join the system.”


The system provides an instant snapshot of traffic in EU waters

(Images) Left: Vessel traffic in the Channel at a given moment in time.

The SafeSeaNet system was mandated under Directive 2002/59/EC, and Member
States have been involved in the set-up of the system since that time. The near-real
time positioning system is based on Automatic Identification System, AIS, information gathered by a network of receiving stations around the EU coastline,and deals with information on ships and their hazardous cargoes in and around EU waters.

On a map-based display authorised users will be able to see the position of any vessel transmitting an AIS signal; find out what hazardous cargo it is carrying; see all high risk ships within a list of categories; ascertain what is wrong with a ship when it reports an incident; see the complete track of a ship; zoom in from an EU level view to individual quays at and between any selected port; see which port a ship will arrive at and when and many other functions.

Later this year the STIRES/SafeSeaNet system will be integrated with the satellite-based global Long Range Identification and Tracking system and the CleanSeaNet pollution monitoring system in a single display. The EU anti-piracy force is already using information from the EMSA-operated EU LRIT Data Centre to track ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, and; port authorities wishing to locate ships heading for their ports will be able to see exactly where they are, anywhere in the

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