PERSEUS researchers move one step closer to EU maritime surveillance system
EU-funded researchers perform marine observation tests with new generation underwater passive hydrophone.
The tragic loss of life in European seas has once more brought search and rescue operations and maritime surveillance to the forefront of public attention. EU researchers with the PERSEUS project are building and demonstrating an EU maritime surveillance system which aims to help us improve our knowledge of what is happening in European waters.
To this end, PERSEUS researchers recently conducted validation tests in the waters of La Spezia in Italy using an autonomous marine observation vehicle called Waveglider. A technical team from NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research Experimentation (CMRE) joined forces with the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) to test Waveglider which housed a new generation underwater passive hydrophone. It’s thought that the hydrophone could contribute to addressing one of the PERSEUS project’s main challenges – underwater acoustic signatures detection and characterization.
CMRE and PLOCAN are just two among the 33 partners on the PERSEUS project led by Indra in Spain. Prior to the recent tests, the project team had already completed two major demonstration phases, in 2013 with Portugal, Spain, France and Italy and in 2014 with Greece. In fact, for over four years now the consortium has been working towards the overall objective of building and demonstrating an EU maritime surveillance system integrating existing national and communitarian installations and enhancing them with innovative technologies.
One of the key aims of the PERSEUS team at the outset was to contribute to the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) roadmap, at feasibility, standards, best practices and regulation levels. The PERSEUS solution will provide a description of the situation from coastal areas to the open seas in real time. It will also improve and automate detection and identification of suspicious or non-collaborative vessels, facilitating decision-making and reducing the response time of authorities. Besides this, it will facilitate assistance and coordination of interception and rescue at sea and will improve efficiency.
One of the key drivers of PERSEUS has been technological innovation, particularly regarding detection and analysis for the detection of low flying targets and small vessels. From the start, the team was keen to ensure that system could allow for multiple sensors and sources of information to be incorporated into it. As an EU-wide system, it was also essential that the PERSEUS solution it could be adapted continuously to new technologies, so that solutions employed at national level such as SIVE, SPATIONAV and others, as well as the European initiatives of the Frontex Agency, EUROSUR and DG MARE could be integrated.
The recent validation trials will soon be followed by a demonstration phase in May of this year in the waters of Gran Canaria. The project officially finishes at the end of June 2015. Ultimately, it is hoped that the strong collaboration between Member States within the multidisciplinary PERSEUS project team will help deliver comprehensive maritime surveillance from coastal regions to high seas.