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Bridging Innovative Downstream Earth Observation and Copernicus enabled Services for Integrated maritime environment, surveillance and security

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - MARINE-EO (Bridging Innovative Downstream Earth Observation and Copernicus enabled Services for Integrated maritime environment, surveillance and security)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-01-31

The MARINE-EO project is a European Pre-Commercial Procurement project that started on 1st January 2017, with a total budget of 4,37M €. It is supported by the European Union, within the H2020 Work Programme 2016 - 2017 Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies – Space.

Maritime “Awareness” is currently a top priority for Europe, sought either in the context of the marine environment and climate change or with regard to maritime security, border control against irregular immigration and safety of navigation.

MARINE-EO teams up a group of 5 maritime authorities (the Buyers’ Group) and a group of 4 scientific and technical organisations with significant expertise in Earth Observation and maritime matters (the technical advisors) to achieve the following objectives:

Objective 1: Develop, test and validate two sets of EO-based services in the field of maritime awareness, leveraging existing Copernicus Services and other products from the Copernicus portfolio:
- Thematic Area 1 Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring and Climate Change: SATOCEAN service provides information about ocean parameters variability in time and space, fish farm monitoring and detection of fish farm threats. It also incorporates detection of vessels and icebergs in the Arctic areas.
- Thematic Area 2 Copernicus Security: SATSURVEILLANCE service contributes to the development of EUROSUR regulation and CISE by providing services in response to Europe’s security challenges, covering the unusual activity monitoring around Critical Infrastructures and enhanced change detection for irregular migration.

Objective 2: Propose a set of “support”/“envelop” services which will better integrate the EO and Copernicus-enabled services to the operational logic and code of conduct.

Objective 3: Strengthen transnational collaboration in maritime awareness sector by facilitating knowledge transfer and optimization of resources for the public authorities participating in the Buyers’ Group.
Marine-EO started with activities that focused on management planning, collecting User Requirements and preparing the procurement specifications and tender documents, while considering feedback received through the Marine-EO Industry Day that was organized in July 2017.

The Marine-EO Call For Tender was published in February 2018.

Following the evaluation of submitted proposals, 7 contracts were awarded for Phase 1 of the PCP, which was launched in July 2018 and focused on Solution Design. At the end of Phase 1, the delivered solution designs were evaluated and 6 contracts were awarded for Phase 2, which was launched in November 2018 and focused on Prototype Development and validation in lab conditions. At the end of Phase 2, Factory Acceptance Tests were held and resulting prototypes were evaluated, leading to the award of 4 contracts for Phase 3, which was launched in November 2019 and focused on Operational Solution Development. During the Phase 3 implementation, developed solutions were eventually deployed at the Buyers’ premises, System Acceptance Review tests were held, Buyers’ operators were trained in using the solutions and operational tests were conducted for validation purposes. Phase 3 was concluded in November 2020 and the resulting 4 procured solutions were comprehensively evaluated.

Τhe entire PCP process was thoroughly analysed and assessed after its completion, leading to the documentation of conclusions regarding the procured solutions and the PCP implementation.

Throughout the project implementation, the Consortium raised awareness about MARINE-EO through interactions with stakeholders, participation in public events, publications and a strong digital online presence.

In parallel, a roadmap was prepared for the realization of future MARINE-EO procurement projects, supported by identified funding instrument synergies.

The MARINE-EO project was concluded in January 2021, following the launch of an online survey and the organization of a public Info Day webinar event that communicated the PCP process results and project conclusions to all relevant stakeholders.
MARINE-EO procures the following innovations for the two addressed thematic areas:

a) Copernicus Marine Monitoring thematic area

Feature 1: Ocean biotic and abiotic parameters, climatological information and historical statistics. There is lack of a holistic approach, combining data from diverse sources in one single web platform, in order to serve the needs of Marine authorities at typical operating conditions. This first feature provides environmental status feedback, both on coastal and offshore marine protected areas, based on data gathered from various sources. Further analysis of these data can produce statistical results, as well as interpolated parameter maps. Furthermore, this service will be connected with the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD 56/2008 EC) and the environmental status assessment process.

Feature 2: Fish farm monitoring. The need for a dedicated service that will monitor Fish Farms, and enhance Fish Farmers awareness of relevant critical information, is considered of paramount importance for this fast-growing market. The feature will be applied in selected aquaculture sites, in order to prevent massive fish-killing events that would possibly result in the area’s destabilization and serious economic damages. The feature will provide end-users, on regular intervals, with access to information related to parameters of high interest.

Feature 3: Arctic based services. In order to ensure navigational safety and security at sea, vessels and icebergs detection is of great matter. Therefore, identification of vessel types, their navigational status, as well as icebergs in the vicinity, along with their dynamics, is crucial. This feature covers the monitoring of specified areas of interest, with respect to sea ice status, iceberg status and vessel recognition, combining information from advanced forecast models. This feature allows the competent on-shore authority to make good decisions in the implementation of contingency plans in future operations, where threats from ocean structure and icebergs could appear.

b) Copernicus Security thematic area

Feature 1: Unusual/Irregular activity monitoring around a Critical Infrastructure. A critical infrastructure is an asset or system essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions, whose damage may have significant negative impact for the security of EU and the well-being of the citizens. This feature aims to support the Maritime Security, by monitoring an area around a particular critical infrastructure, detecting abnormalities and identifying behavioral patterns in its surroundings, in order to foresee possible threats.

Feature 2: Change detection around coastal areas. Certain coastal areas surrounding Europe are labelled as possible sources of irregular migration, mainly due to their (strategic geographical) position and societal situation. This MARINE-EO platform feature aims to support the detection of irregular activity taking place in specific areas of interest, in order to minimize the appearance of unpleasant events/situations OR the number of future dinghies departing from these coasts, towards the EU.
MARINE-EO delivery chain infrastructure