“Mastering Maritime and Port Security: Promoting Best Practices in Sea Surveillance”

Capacity building for monitoring the movement of vessels in maritime areas

23-27 May 2022, Italy

The capacity building activity for monitoring movement of vessels in maritime areas, entitled, “Mastering Maritime and Port Security: Promoting Best Practices in Sea Surveillance,” was organized under the EU funded Port Security and Safety of Navigation Programme (PSP) in Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) with the support of the Italian Coast Guard from 23- 27 May 2022 in Rome Italy. The event was attended by the 9 beneficiary countries (Angola, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Tanzania), 3 partner countries (Djibouti, Somalia and South Africa) and the 2 regional centres namely the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre and the Regional Coordination Operations Centre. Due to Covid 19 restrictions the training was held in two batches at two different locations.

The training was facilitated by the Italian Coast Guard (ITCG) and ELMAN SRL – an Italian company which specializes in the design, development and implementation of telecommunications systems and infrastructures in the transport and defence field.

The capacity building activity aimed at supporting PSP beneficiary countries in building capacity at the national level using the technical expertise of Community Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information Systems which the Italian Coast Guard has acquired in the last decades and has led to the development of the Mediterranean Regional AIS Server (MAREΣ) hosted at European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). This sharing of experience provided an opportunity for participants to get acquainted with practices that can be adapted to the maritime context of the Indian Ocean, understand the system in place and their precise needs at national level in view of developing the national and regional information sharing, reporting and exchange of data on cargo and passengers.

During the five days training event held in Rome and Pomezia, attendees developped specific abilities on how to conduct monitoring activities of the maritime zone (up to 12-24 nautical miles depending on each country’s assets) learning how to use systems that fall under the category of Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System. AIS transponders, Vessel Traffic Services (Radars), combined VHF/MF/HF GMDSS stations, Vessel Monitoring System and Long-Range Identification and Tracking. The participants also learnt on how to manage numerous equipment which are instrumental in the process of establishing a National Information Sharing and Coordination Centre where duty personnel from different national administrations can provide his/her operational information necessary to build the Common Operational Picture and the actionable/workable information.

At the same time, when interacting with Italian Coast Guard personnel managing the VTMIS, attendees became familiar with procedures that could be used during operational emergency situations such as oil spill pollution, search and rescue and when dealing with maritime crimes such as IUU fishing, drugs trafficking and human trafficking.

Familiarization visit to the Italian Civil Protection Department

On the final day of training, a guided visit to the Italian Civil Protection Department was organised to showcase the multi-agency approach which is required to enhance collaboration at national level and develop a coordinated response in times of crises. The guided visit lasted around 90 minutes with visits to specialist/ crisis rooms followed by a presentation in the control room