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Title: Intensified European maritime surveillance cooperation
Sectors of Transport: Oceans and fisheries, Transport, Fisheries sector, Maritime & inland waterways, Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): rules, markets & surveillance
Intensified European maritime surveillance cooperation

Intensified European maritime surveillance cooperation

Bringing together maritime surveillance data from civil and military authorities can help avoid the duplication of work and reduce costs. Increasing cooperation and sharing data can also bring more efficient responses to real-time events at sea such as accidents, pollution incidents, crimes or security threats.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council — Better situational awareness by enhanced cooperation across maritime surveillance authorities: next steps within the Common Information Sharing Environment for the EU maritime domain (COM(2014) 451 final of 8 July 2014)



It sets out the progress made in the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) since it was established by the European Commission in 2010. It proposes guidance and further priorities at European Union and national level.


The CISE is one of the key strategic objectives of the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy and an important element of the Maritime Security Strategy.

What is Maritime CISE?

It is a voluntary collaborative process which builds on existing information exchange and sharing systems and platforms. Improved interoperability between these should optimise information exchange among surveillance authorities, resulting in better maritime awareness. Furthermore, the main aim of the Maritime CISE is to boost safety, security and environmental protection in EU maritime areas.

What are its benefits?

  • greater knowledge and maritime situational awareness enabling better coordinated and responsive surveillance operations;
  • a substantial reduction in data collection efforts;
  • reductions in administrative and operational costs of maritime surveillance activities.

Achievements at EU level:

A number of systems have been set up serving different policy areas and crossing different sectors. These include:

  • SafeSeaNet, which provides integrated maritime services for traffic monitoring (situational awareness) and to ensure the implementation of EU legislation;
  • Common Emergency Communication and Information System, which facilitates communication during maritime incidents and disasters;
  • Vessel Monitoring System, a satellite-based monitoring system which provides data to the fisheries authorities on the location, course and speed of vessels;
  • Maritime Surveillance Network, which allows the exchange of operational maritime information and services such as ship positions, tracks, identification data, chat or images;
  • European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur), a multi-purpose system to prevent illegal immigration and cross-border crime at the EU’s external borders;
  • European Agency for the Management of External Borders - Frontex, which promotes, coordinates and develops European border management;
  • National Single Windows, which provide national information exchange platforms for reporting and sharing of ship related information and are linked to the EU’s maritime information and exchange system.

What are the priority areas for further cross-border and cross-sectoral cooperation?

  • up to date sharing of the positions of patrol vessels and aircrafts to ensure the fastest possible response in the event of mass rescue operations and/or other events at sea;
  • collaborative tools for cross-border crisis management;
  • combining data and exchanging information on suspicious vessels navigating in EU waters;
  • national registries of recreational boats, to enable the computerised processing of information requests between EU countries.

The Commission also proposes several further actions. For example, it intends to:

  • develop a non-binding Maritime CISEhandbook by the end of 2016 with best-practice recommendations and information on how to apply CISE;
  • support measures to develop, maintain, and circulate standards allowing maritime surveillance systems to be interoperable;
  • continue to review existing sectoral legislation at EU level in order to remove any remaining legal barriers to cross-sectoral information sharing while ensuring compliance with relevant data protection requirements;

By 2018, the Commission will also launch a review process to assess the implementation of Maritime CISE and whether further action is required.

For more information, see Integrated maritime surveillance on the European Commission’s website.


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on a Draft Roadmap towards establishing of the Common Information Sharing Environment for the surveillance of the EU maritime domain (COM(2010) 584 final of 20 October 2010)

last update 24.09.2015

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