Home to over 300 of the world’s main seaports and nearly 30% of the global merchant fleet, maritime transportation plays a big role in the European economy. In particular, the EU controls c.a. 30% of the world merchant fleet. That’s why the EU goes to great lengths to ensure its security.

The EU Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) promotes international peace and security, respect for international rules and principles, and the sustainability of our oceans with the goal of providing safe maritime operations . 

But, while its focus may be at sea level, the EUMSS very much depends on space. 

Safety at sea starts with Galileo

GNSS is a critical technology used in maritime navigation systems. However, GNSS signals are vulnerable to interference and spoofing, which can cause user navigation systems to obtain faulty information. Intentional satellite interreference is not a new issue, but, in recent years the maritime industry has been increasingly facing GNSS spoofing incidents (Black Sea in 2017, Shanghai 2019, Louisiana 2020). Erroneous data of a vessel’s position, speed and direction poses real threats to its own operations, but also to surrounding ships, especially those carrying dangerous goods. Between leaving both crew and shipments vulnerable to hijacking and theft and the risk of guiding a vessel off course, the implications of falsifying GNSS signals can negatively impact the Union’s blue economy.

To increase the robustness against GNSS attacks, the EU is currently testing the Galileo OSNMA service. This forthcoming service is an authentication mechanism that allows GNSS receivers to verify the authenticity of GNSS information, ensuring that the data they receive are indeed from Galileo and have not been modified in any way. 

Your partner in maritime safety and security 

While the EU Space Programme provides European maritime operators, seafarers and national authorities with tools to enhance safety at sea, optimise navigation performance and protect the oceans, EUSPA itself continually partners with the sector to further leverage the benefits of EU Space. 

For instance, EUSPA has been working with such relevant organisations as the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to develop space-based solutions related to navigation, search and rescue and fisheries control. 

EUSPA also contributes to the EFCA and EMSA’s annual workshops, both of which focus on the use of new technologies – including drones – for fisheries surveillance and operational inspections respectively. The EFCA has invited EUSPA to their next annual meeting on 3 May, leveraging the memorandum of understanding between the two agencies, to present the latest work of several EUSPA-supported projects, including Blue Box Porbeagle, which is developing a VMS transceiver using the Galileo Open Service Navigation Message Authentication (OSNMA) service, and GAMBAS, an initiative working on a Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) with Galileo return link capability. 

In addition to this work with maritime agencies, EUSPA also supports the sector through awareness raising measures by providing key market intelligence like our EO and GNSS Market Report, and by offering a range of funding opportunities.


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