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MARSUR European Maritime Surveillance project takes next step


European Defence Agency’s longstanding Maritime Surveillance (MARSUR) project entered a new phase on 19 November 2020 when the Agency launched its third phase, focused on the development of a next generation system.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 MARSUR III will enhance the system’s interoperability with other maritime security regimes, primarily with the EU’s Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) (Picture source: EDA)


Whereas the precedent project phase (MARSUR II) dealt with network maintenance and addressed outstanding issues with the MARSUR Exchange System (MEXS, the software ensuring the automatic exchange of maritime surveillance data among the participants), MARSUR III will also enhance the system’s interoperability with other maritime security regimes, primarily with the EU’s Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE). The overall objective is to enhance MARSUR’s operational use in CSDP missions and operations.

During phase III, MARSUR will therefore aim at:
* transitioning to a new MEXS based on state-of-the-art technologies
* investigating options for exchange of classified information within the network and their following * implementation
* facilitating its connectivity with other maritime security regimes with a focus on the EU CISE
enhancing the operational use of the MARSUR Network and support to EU maritime engagements and maritime CSDP missions and operations.

The project, led by Germany, has the support of 15 additional contributing countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden). In addition, the participation of the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) brings unique added value to the project, while at the same time providing SatCen with additional information that will nurture its own products/services for the benefit of its users.

In view of the enhanced capability to be offered by MARSUR III, EDA is confident that more maritime EU Member States will join the project in the future, which would further improve the EU-wide maritime surveillance coverage. The operational added value of MARSUR was emphasised by the choice of EU Member States to rely on MARSUR for the pilot case, in the Gulf of Guinea, of the Coordinated Maritime Presence Concept (CMP). EDA is cooperating closely with the EEAS, including the EUMS, as the planning phase is ongoing. The further development of MEXS foreseen under the MARSUR III phase will position the MARSUR network as the tool of choice for current and future maritime engagements at EU level, including for CSDP missions and operations.