EMSA-led Multipurpose Maritime Operation launched

EMSA: Comprehensive Support for Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection

In the English Channel and the southern North Sea, a multipurpose marine operation is presently in progress, coordinated by the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the maritime authorities of Belgium and France, and the European Marine Safety Agency (EMSA).

Initiated at the request of the Belgian and French maritime authorities, this operation aims to enhance various coast guard functions until September 13, 2024. EMSA will provide comprehensive support for maritime safety, search and rescue, maritime surveillance, environmental protection, and response to maritime accidents and disasters. In partnership with EFCA, the operation will also focus on fisheries inspection and control.

EMSA’s Integrated Maritime Services will deliver real-time maritime monitoring of all vessels in this heavily trafficked region, utilizing advanced algorithms to detect vessel movement patterns. This effort is coordinated from EMSA’s dedicated operations center in Lisbon.

Participating Member States can request satellite imagery from EMSA’s CleanSeaNet service, which offers continuous oil spill monitoring and pollution detection using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images. This service is further enhanced by optical satellite imagery from Copernicus Maritime Surveillance.


EMSA is deploying its remotely piloted aircraft service (RPAS) for regional operations, capable of functioning in the airspace of both Belgium and France, and operating from the Gris-Nez Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in the Pas-de-Calais Department, France. Additionally, EMSA’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) service will be available for underwater surveys.

A Multipurpose Maritime Operation (MMO) is a coordinated activity within a specific maritime area, conducted over a defined period to support national authorities in performing coast guard functions at national, Union, and international levels. MMOs involve at least two coast guard functions, managed by multiple agencies, and can be initiated by Member States, EFCA, EMSA, or Frontex. The involved agencies may provide assets, services, or experts, supplemented by contributions from the Member States.

The French authorities participating in this operation include the Secretariat General of the Sea, the La Manche and North Sea Maritime Préfecture, and the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

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