Vessel traffic monitoring in EU waters (SafeSeaNet)

SafeSeaNet is a vessel traffic monitoring and information system, established in order to enhance:

  • Maritime safety
  • Port and maritime security
  • Marine environment protection
  • Efficiency of maritime traffic and maritime transport

It has been set up as a network for maritime data exchange, linking together maritime authorities from across Europe. It enables European Union Member States, Norway, and Iceland, to provide and receive information on ships, ship movements, and hazardous cargoes. The main information elements that are contained in the system and made available to users are as follows:

• Automatic Identification System (AIS) based near-real-time ship positions (i.e. one every 6 minutes)

• Archived historical ship positions (over several years)

• Additional information from AIS-based ship reports (e.g. identification name/numbers, flag, dimensions, course, speed, dimensions, destination and ship type)

• Estimated/actual times of arrival/departure

• Details of hazardous goods carried on board

• Information on safety-related incidents affecting ships

• Information on pollution-related incidents affecting ships

• Details of waste carried on board/to be offloaded (from June 2015)

• Ship security-related information (from June 2015)

• Information on the location of remaining single hulled tankers

• Information on the location of ships that have been banned from EU ports

• Digital map layers (containing information on depths, navigation aids, traffic separation schemes, anchorages, AIS station locations, etc.)

This information is used for many different purposes, some of which are described in the section entitled “Who Can Benefit from SafeSeaNet and How”.

Maritime Support Services

About the MSS
The Maritime Support Services Operations Centre is at the heart of EMSA’s maritime monitoring and information activities.

SafeSeaNet Quick Facts

  • Vessel traffic monitoring system
  • Based on monitoring AIS (radio) broadcasts from ships
  • Covers all European coastal waters (over 20,000 vessels)
  • >12,000 ships/day tracked in EU waters
  • >100,000,000 AIS positions recorded per month
  • Service operated by EMSA, provided to Member States authorities
  • Uses: traffic management, search-and-rescue, banned vessel tracking


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