The EU-funded HiSea project (High resolution Copernicus-Based Information Services at Sea for Ports and Aquaculture) was presented as an important maritime surveillance tool to participants at a recent conference on Marine Surveillance in the Western Mediterranean, hosted by HiSea partners Valenciaport Foundation and the Valencia Port Authority on January 16, 2020.
Nowadays, HiSea’s approach is all the more relevant to maritime surveillance, as the use of tools fed by satellite data is increasing. Although HiSea focuses primarily on marine water quality issues for ports and aquaculture, it is also a tool powered by satellite data (through Copernicus). Among its water monitoring services, HiSea will include the detection of chemical residues such as hydrocarbons, which are one of the primary maritime environmental impact concerns.
“The objective of this conference […] was to bring together the various initiatives which are being carried out on the subject of maritime surveillance, in order to make them known among all those who are taking part in this work, and are able to coordinate their activities to obtain a better result while using the same means,” Rafael Company Director of Innovation EU at the Valenciaport Foundation said, calling it “a success”.
“There are many bodies working in this field, at European, national, regional and local level, and it is undoubtedly possible to obtain better results from the means being developed and the investments being made if coordination between the different actors is strengthened,” Company added.
Maritime surveillance is a subject that is receiving more and more attention due to society’s increase in environmental awareness, and the growing [awareness of the] need to care for the seas and oceans. At the same time, there are more and more activities taking place at sea, such as nautical activities, development of aquaculture facilities, energy production, and, especially in the Mediterranean, the phenomenon of migration between the southern and northern coasts, requiring surveillance of these waters. Additionally, technological development of recent years allows for the realisation of surveillance tasks unthinkable only a few years ago.
The day was divided into three sessions, reflecting subtopics included in maritime surveillance according to the European Union, such as border control, security and protection, regulation of aquaculture, customs, environmental quality, and defence.
The first session was dedicated to security and defence, and included the participation of the Civil Guard, Maritime Rescue, the Spanish Navy, and the National Aerospace Technical Institute (INTA), among others. At the second session, dedicated to oceanography, were present representatives of the State Ports, the University of Alicante, the Marine Science Institute, and UTEK.
The third sessions was dedicated to biodiversity, counted the participation of the Valencian provincial government, the Dénia local authority, Valenciaport Foundation, Valencia Port Authority, Regional Activity Center for Specially Protected Areas (RAC-SPA), Leitat, and Orbital EOS.