Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA) is the effective understanding of activities, associated with and occurring in the maritime domain that could impact on the security, safety and environment of the European Union and its Member States.
Following a tasking by the EU-Defence Ministers in late 2005, EDA launched in September 2006 the Maritime Surveillance project (MARSUR), with the aim to create a network using existing naval and maritime information exchange systems. Overall goals are to avoid duplication of effort and the use of available technologies, data and information, to enhance cooperation in a simple, efficient and low-cost solution for military and civil cooperation, and to support safety and security.
After extensive work by fifteen Member States the project came to a decisive point as it entered the end of the demonstration phase for a basic MARSUR-Network.
The live demonstration during the Distinguished Visitors Day (DV-Day) on 30 June 2011 was using the connections between independent systems from Italy, Finland, France, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Spain and Sweden. The full success clearly proved the capabilities of the chosen federated system-of-systems approach.
On the 27th October 2011 Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britan and Northern Ireland, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, signed the Technical Agreement (TA) for the MARSUR LIVE PHASE, followed in 2012 by Bulgaria, Latvia and Norway. The MARSUR LIVE PHASE aims to further develop a capability that fulfils the need of maritime surveillance information sharing and networking whilst maximizing interoperability and standardization. It is based on the demonstration Network, as delivered by the 10-CAP-08 “MARSUR Networking – Architecture experimentation” EDA contract.
MARSUR Networking gives added value to national maritime picture and enhances the security of the Participants’ nations. The scope of the MARSUR LIVE PHASE is the Basic Level with the exchange of national Point of Contact information with the intention of manually sharing maritime surveillance information. The Basic Level is mandatory for the Participants. The Advanced Level is the automated exchange of data obtained through national analysis of information, where permitted by national law and any applicable agreements or arrangements.
The main objectives of MARSUR is to contribute, pursuant to national laws and regulations, to security, safety and protection of the environment in the maritime domain and improve maritime situational awareness, produce and share a maritime picture, improve interoperability and co-operation between EU military and civilian maritime authorities and other international maritime actors.
On 28 October 2014 the developed MARSUR Exchange System (MEXS 2.0) was introduced into the operational MARSUR LIVE PHASE during the main event at the EURONAVAL, Le Bourget, Paris, France.