EU states must work more closely together to improve maritime safety, a senior European Commission official warned last week.
Urban Hallberg, from DG Energy and Transport’s (DGTREN) Maritime Transport Policy & Maritime Safety Unit, called on European countries to collaborate more closely to improve the effectiveness of vessel traffic monitoring and maritime safety throughout the continent’s waters.
“Although member states are obliged to share information about vessels that pose risks to both humans and the marine environment, these procedures are not always synchronised,” Mr Hallberg said during discussions about the data exchange platform SAFESEANET1.
His comments were made during a workshop held in Riga on 11th June, organised by PROPS2 and SKEMA3.
According to Mr Hallberg, budgetary problems initially prevented widespread development and implementation of SAFESEANET but the European Union is currently reviewing this position.
The aim of the SAFESEANET platform is to develop a coordinated system of seamlessly exchanging data among various national bodies, without having “national island systems”, Mr Hallberg commented.
It was also announced at the Riga event that the next phases of the EU’s e-Maritime platform development will commence in July 2009.
Christos Pipitsoulis from DGTREN announced that a minimum of “one or two” six month studies will start next month before an extensive consultation begins in September 2009. A draft communications plan will be completed by June 2010.
DGTREN and the International Maritime Organisation aim to cooperate in developing a consistent approach to e-Maritime and e-Navigation respectively over the next two years.
Herman de Meester from the European Community Shipowners’ Associations said that “ECSA has not yet formed a position on e-Maritime. In the run-up to the consultation process the concept should not be presented as overly complex and broad. The key to success is the appropriate application of relevant data gathered to meet real needs of authorities and the business stakeholders.”
The workshop was followed by discussions, chaired by Professor Stratos Papadimitriou from the University of Piraeus, who is coordinating the PROPS project.
Participants discussed topical issues within the sector, including training of maritime personnel, achieving economic and environmental benefits from short sea shipping and the marketing of intermodal transport.
Professor Papadimitriou said:
“The entire Riga workshop debated a number of critical short sea shipping related issues. The general consensus among the participants was that e-Maritime platforms will eventually have the capability to solve many current inefficiencies. The challenge we face over the next two to three years is developing effective information management solutions that are widely welcomed and implemented across Europe.”
For further information about the Riga workship, please contact Neil Cameron +44(0)77 3410 3749 or email ncameron[.]bell-pottinger.co.uk.
1. SAFESEANET is a platform for Data Exchange between EU member states’ maritime authorities. The network assists communication between authorities at local and central levels, thus contributing to prevent accidents at sea and marine pollution.
2. PROPS (PROmotional Platform for Short Sea Shipping and Intermodality) is a three year project funded by the European Commission aimed at promoting the use of short sea shipping and intermodality within Europe.
3. SKEMA is a three year project aimed at establishing a Sustainable Knowledge Platform for the European MAritime Transport & Logistics Industry.
4. e-Maritime is an initiative in the maritime transport sector which facilitates and supports the development and adoption of the latest ICT technologies for improved maritime transportation services. It aims to link the shipping community enabling shipping liners, shipping agents, freight forwarders and members of the Maritime Community to communicate more easily.
5. PROPS Consortium members include: Nautical Enterprise Centre, Ireland; the University of Turku, Finland; the Global Policy Institute, London; the International Business Group Ltd (Shortsea Promotion Centre), Bulgaria; Port Authority of Gijon, Spain; INLECOM Systems, UK; Norsk Marinteknisk Forskningsinstitutt AS, Norway; Bell Pottinger Business & Brand, UK; TIS.pt Consulatores Em Transportes, Portugal; University of Piraeus, Greece; K-Net SA, Greece; Elasg Datamat S.p.A, Italy; Senator fur Wirtschaft und Haefen, Bundesland, Bremen, Germany; Compania Trasmediterranea S.A, Spain; Irish Exporters Association, Ireland.