Mission Statements


EMSA’s mission is to serve EU maritime interests for a safe, secure, green and competitive maritime sector and act as a reliable and respected point of reference in the maritime sector in Europe and worldwide.

EMSA capitalises on its unique know-how to position itself as an essential player in the maritime cluster in Europe and beyond.

EMSA works on maritime safety, security, climate, environment and single market issues and tasks, first as a service provider to Member States and the Commission, but also as an innovative and reliable partner and knowledge hub for the European maritime cluster and potentially beyond as a reference internationally.

The Executive Director

Reporting to the Administrative Board, the Executive Director is responsible for the setting up, running and development of the Agency in accordance with EMSA’s founding regulation.

Executive Office

Support to the Director in all areas under her responsibility. This includes helping good governance with management support, promoting compliance, transparency and civil service culture. In the area of planning and monitoring the Unit is responsible for developing the main institutional planning and reporting documents (SPD and CAAR), follow the full budgetary cycle, from the initial input to monitoring its execution. The Executive office provides secretariat to the EMSA’s Administrative Board and includes all compliance and audit related tasks of EMSA (IAS, ECA, ICF, etc) including risk management. Two other areas under the responsibility of the Executive Office are the continuous development of a Quality Management System and the Accounting Officer (with direct reporting to the Agency’s Administrative Board). Communication is also part of the Unit both in terms of traditional and digital/social media products. International and Interinstitutional relations for work with institutions and authorities, within the EU and beyond are also in the portfolio of the Executive Office. This involves planning and taking initiatives, coordinating EMSA’s position as well as organising events and visits.

DEPARTMENT 1: Sustainability and Technical Assistance

Department 1 is responsible for tasks related to sustainability, with focus on the contribution to the European green agenda for maritime transport by strengthening the EU capacity to protect the marine environment, manage climate change and respond to new environmental challenges. It is responsible for a wide range of activities to prevent pollution by ships and respond to pollution by ships and offshore oil and gas installations.

It also supports the European Commission and the Member States in the proper implementation of EU legislation through its programme of visits and inspections and for issues related to Human Element and Standards of Seafarers.

It hosts the EMSA Academy and offers a wide range of capacity building activities in support of its stakeholders, including state-of-the-art technology. It also manages projects for assistance to States applying for accession to the Union, the European Neighbourhood Countries sharing the Mediterranean Sea and the Black and Caspian Sea, as well as non-EU States members of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control.

Unit 1.1 - Sustainability

Unit 1.1 is responsible for tasks related to Sustainability and provides Member States and the Commission with technical assistance on matters related to the impact of shipping on the environment as well as assistance for preparedness and response to pollution from ships and offshore oil and gas installations.

In particular, the Unit supports the development and implementation of relevant EU and international climate and environmental legislation, and develops practical guidance and tools for its implementation, ensuring the participation of the wider European maritime cluster in this process.

The Unit develops and maintains an effective response toolbox to top up Member States capacity to respond to pollution from ships and offshore oil and gas installations, being attentive to support Member States also with regards to incidents involving HNS and other emerging threats to the marine environment.

To achieve these objectives, the Unit maintains a close working relationship with the Member States and the Commission at IMO and within the Regional Agreements for the protection of the marine environment, when relevant.

Unit 1.2 – Visits and Inspections, Human Element

The Unit is responsible for visits to Member States, with focus on the operational implementation of EU maritime Regulations and Directives. This task is performed in close cooperation with the EMSA business units having specific responsibility for the relevant legislative instruments. It also carries out inspections of classification societies that survey and certify ships in international trade and that are acting as recognised organisations on behalf of Member States. These inspections are carried out world-wide and their results feed into the European Commission’s regular assessments of these organisations, as required by EU law.

In the area of Standards for Seafarers, the Unit is also responsible for inspections in third countries that train and certify seafarers thus eligible to work on ships flagged by EU Member States. It is also engaged in statistical review and analysis of data hosted by EMSA’s STCW-IS, the information system which stores information on certificates and endorsements of recognition. The Unit also provides assistance to the Commission and the Member States on IMO, ILO and human element related issues, using the experience gained in relation to the STCW Convention to support the implementation of the MLC Convention and other pertinent ILO instruments, and supporting initiatives that promote “social responsibility” in shipping and motivate young people towards seafaring professions.

In conducting its Visits and Inspections activity, the Unit implements a Quality management system duly certified in terms of the ISO 9001: 2015 Standard.

Unit 1.3 – Capacity Building

Unit 1.3 is responsible for activities in support of the Professional Development and Training of staff from the competent authorities performing Flag, Port and Coastal State responsibilities.

It hosts the EMSA Academy and provides technical assistance to Member States, Enlargement and Neighbouring countries. It is also responsible for deriving knowledge from the data and information gathered in the Agency through Analytics.

The Unit is responsible for the designing, developing, keeping up to date and delivering of structured and modular training programs for the benefit of officials from Member States, other EU Agencies, ENP and IPA Countries. This includes, but is not be limited to, the management of tools, the development and continuous update of relevant curricula and syllabi, the development and delivery of eLearning and online courses, the development of simulated ship inspections using Virtual Reality, and the assessment and certification of individuals following agreed methodologies. The Unit provides also technical assistance to pre, during and post audit phase for IMSAS audits.

It manages the Projects having as beneficiaries the ENP Countries in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Black and Caspian Sea in the fields falling under the mandate of the Agency.

Finally the Unit is responsible for horizontal analysis and reports regarding the overall implementation of maritime legislation, the production of regular and ad hoc statistics, using data available from in house tools and applications to support the Commission and the Member States, the development of annual overviews in cooperation with relevant business units, the development of the Dynamic Overview of National Authorities, the coordination of EMSA’s participation and follow-up on relevant Research Projects, in cooperation with the Business Units, the European Commission and other Agencies.

Department 2: Safety, Security, and Surveillance

The mission of Department 2 is to provide technical assistance and support to the European Commission and Member States on matters related to ship safety and security (Unit 2.1), and to provide maritime surveillance services (Unit 2.2) to EMSA’s large array of users.

On a horizontal level Department 2 is also responsible for managing the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) transitional phase by way of bringing together the CISE stakeholders to develop and expand the CISE network to become operational by end of 2021. Department 2 is also responsible for implementing the collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). It follows very closely the proceedings at IMO’s Committees and Sub-Committees and provides and coordinates where necessary any technical support required in respect of matters related to ship safety, security, and satellite communications.

Unit 2.1 – Safety and Security

Unit 2.1 is responsible for providing technical assistance on matters regarding ship safety, marine equipment, autonomous ships, maritime security, accident investigation, places of refuge, flag State implementation, and port State control. It also hosts the Management Unit of EQUASIS.

Unit 2.1 is responsible for technical assistance to the Commission and the Member States for various safety topics including damage stability of passenger ships, fires on ro-ro passenger ships, autonomous ships, loading/unloading of bulk carriers, container ship and fishing ship safety and safety management.

Regarding marine equipment, Unit 2.1 is responsible for the business management of the database of EU certified equipment and the annual update of the relevant marine certification standards in the EU legislation. It supports the work of the group of notified bodies for the harmonisation of implementation of standards by providing the technical secretariat, facilitates the market surveillance authority work and supports the Commission in the management of the mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with the United States.

As for maritime security, the unit is responsible for providing technical assistance to the Commission in the monitoring of Member States' implementation of the maritime security requirements under Regulation (EC) 725/2004, on enhancing ship and port facility security. It also provides support to the Commission and Member States on issues related to cybersecurity and maritime security issues at large.

With respect to accident investigation, the unit is responsible for technical assistance for the implementation of Directive 2009/18/EC establishing the fundamental principles governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector. It provides the Secretariat for the Permanent Cooperation Framework (PCF) of Accident Investigation Bodies. It is also responsible for the business management of EMCIP, the European Marine Casualty Information Platform, a tool to store and analyse casualty data and investigation reports provided by the Member States. Based on casualty data, it provides safety analysis and statistics related to marine casualties.

Unit 2.1 is responsible for technical assistance regarding the implementation of Directive 2009/16/EC as amended (Port State Control). This includes the participation in all bodies of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control. It is also responsible for technical assistance regarding the implementation of Directive (EU) 2017/2110 on a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro passenger ships and high-speed passenger craft and for flag State implementation.

It also hosts the Management Unit of Equasis ensuring its daily running and provides technical assistance on issues related to places of refuge.

Unit 2.2 - Surveillance

The mission of Unit 2.2 is to provide maritime surveillance services to enhance the Agency’s maritime information picture by implementing solutions that put at the centre the operational needs of users. This is achieved by managing the sourcing and day-to-day operations of the Earth Observation information flow from satellites, through the provision of Automatic Identification System information detected by satellites (SAT-AIS), and by transmission of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) based information. This involves both the set-up of routine surveillance services based on requests made by maritime authorities and other Coast Guard Agencies and the support that is provided through the EMSA contingency plan in response to maritime emergencies.

Unit 2.2 is responsible for the general sourcing and day-to-day provision of the extensive portfolio of satellite-based earth observation data, added value products and alert services, as derived from Synthetic Aperture Radar and optical satellites, in support to the operational requirements of multiple maritime user communities.

These are the main components of three distinct services: i) CleanSeaNet, the European oil spill detection and monitoring service; ii) Copernicus Maritime Surveillance, as delegated by the Commission to the Agency and iii) satellite imagery-based services provided to Frontex for maritime border control surveillance.

As for RPAS and Satellite Communication Services, Unit 2.2 is responsible for the set-up of RPAS operations and the general sourcing and day-to-day provision of RPAS and Satellite communication-based information, such as AIS messages, live video, radar detections, distress signals and emissions measurements, to support the operational requirements of multiple maritime user communities, including other EU Agencies in the framework of the Coast guard cooperation. This information complements the general maritime information picture including the oil spill detection and monitoring service (CleanSeaNet), the ship source emission surveillance (SOx detection) as well as the vessel detection via satellite for maritime surveillance. In addition, by installing RPAS on board EMSA and other EU Agencies/Member States authorities’ vessels this service further supports pollution response and other Coast Guard activities at sea.

Department 3: Digital Services and Simplification

EMSA has to accelerate efforts in integrating a new digital approach, with a view to facilitating the efficiency, reliability and predictability of maritime operations. Addressing this challenge requires enhancing the use of digital technologies to provide value-producing opportunities facilitating further the maritime data exchanges and sharing between all parties. Department 3 is responsible for: the application delivery lifecycle; coordination with business units; technical specifications and technical consultations; coordination of contracting companies; and service operations. The Department is also responsible for the Corporate services providing high quality and timely support to EMSA's core operational business.

Unit 3.1 – Maritime Digital Services

The Unit ensures the development, operation and continual improvement of all Maritime Digital Services of the Agency. Supporting the achievement of EMSA’s business objectives, the Unit works in close cooperation with all business units, transforming their needs in technical systems and services, performing full operational ICT cycle, including continual improvement and developments.

The Unit acts as a platform for maritime services shared with Member States to supplement and enhance national capacity for vessel traffic monitoring, Port State Control, and maritime pollution preparedness and response. The Unit’s activities include also integrating and combining different types of data, building a maritime picture and producing customised services tailored to user requirements, avoiding thus duplication of effort, overlapping infrastructures and unnecessary expenditures.

Furthermore, the Unit coordinates the development and implementation of a cloud-based ICT strategy aiming to ensure that best solution and latest ICT applications are available to support the needs of the users. Combined with the use of Big Data analytic tools and the Artificial Intelligence algorithms, cloud-based solutions aim to increase EMSA capability to provide new added value services for various operational contexts, like: fisheries control, border control, security, safety of marine traffic, coastal protection, and environmental protection. The Unit is also contributing to the cybersecurity activities, to ensure the highest level of EMSA ICT security and for sharing experience and knowledge with the Member States and the industry.

Unit 3.2 – Digital Infrastructure

The Unit is responsible for the datacentre management (at primary and business continuity sites); for the hosting and IT Operations for all Maritime Applications; for the internal Corporate Services management; for desktop management and the service desk for internal users; for networking and security.

The Unit supports development, testing, deployment and operations of EMSA's infrastructure and corporate services using state-of-the-art IT Service management processes based on ITIL. It supports business objectives ensuring end-to-end service availability, performance and reliability through implementing best practice hosting, monitoring, business continuity and disaster recovery processes.

The Unit is also tasked with all middleware and database administration and installation, configuration, integration and deployment of application components within the pre-production and production environments of EMSA's ICT Infrastructure (including the Business Continuity Facility (BCF)).

The Unit is also in charge for the MSS providing a 24/7 operational and technical service ensuring systems availability and stability by monitoring the continuity of the incoming and outgoing data flows, quality reporting and incident management linked with all Agency maritime applications. In the event of maritime emergencies, the MSS acts as a single point of contact for mobilisation of EMSA operational services, and reports to EMSA and the Commission on maritime accidents in accordance with the EMSA contingency plan.

Furthermore, the Unit is responsible for the technical and business validation and verification of applications; application build management; application deployment and; the preparation of application monitoring systems.

Unit 3.3 – Simplification

The Unit co-operates with Member States and the EU institutions to implement the EU vessel traffic monitoring initiatives in the fields covered by Directive 2002/59/EC (as amended), in particular through cooperating with Member States to operate SafeSeaNet, the European Union Long Range Identification and Tracking Cooperative Data Centre (EU LRIT CDC) and the LRIT International Data Exchange (LRIT IDE). In addition, assistance is provided to the European Commission and Member States for the LRIT issues within the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The Unit is also responsible to support the technical implementation of the Reporting Formalities Directive and the enhancement of the European Maritime Single Window environment (EMSWe) as per Regulation EU 2019/1239. Assistance is also provided to the Commission and Member States to support the development of eCertificates related services and facilitate ship reporting.

Furthermore, the Unit manages the main cooperation agreements with EU Institutions by collecting and translating their business requirements into functional specifications. There is a wide range of cooperation arrangements with different Institutions including the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the European Union Naval Force, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCGA) and the Maritime Analysis And Operations Centre-Narcotics (MAOC-N).

Department 4: Corporate Services

The mission of Department 4 – Corporate services is to provide high quality and timely support to EMSA's core operational business, and to assist management and staff in the areas of human resources, legal (including access to documents) and financial affairs and other corporate services such as: implementation of seat agreement, facilities and logistics, record management, organisation of EMSA events and missions.

Assistance to Departments and the Executive Office is also provided in respect of preparation, launching and follow up of all procurement procedures, financial initiation of transactions, financial contract management and assets management.

Unit 4.1 - Human Resources and Internal Support

The Unit is primarily responsible for the implementation of the Staff Regulations (SR) and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants (CEOS) as well as the development, putting into practice and providing support related to staff policy in the areas of recruitment, staff administration, career development, remuneration, staff welfare, learning & development and missions organisation and reimbursements.

In addition, the Unit is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the rights and obligations under the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities (Seat Agreement) for the Agency and its staff.

The Unit is also in charge of the implementation across the Agency of the records management policy & procedures, archiving, mail handling, print and copy shop as well as the reimbursement of EMSA's events.

Unit 4.2 - Legal, Finance and Facilities

The Unit provides advice to the Executive Director on legal, budgetary and financial matters and ensures compliance of legal and financial transactions with EMSA Financial Regulation. In this area, it particularly provides advice and verification on procurement procedures and legal commitments, financial and budgetary issues. The Unit carries out ex-ante financial verification of all financial transactions; in ensures the Agency invoice registration and management of contract archive and all access rights to the ABAC suite. Finally, it aims at streamlining administrative procedures by providing training in relation to finance and procurement, drafting and updating relevant rules, guidelines, templates and procedures and as business Unit enhancing procurement and financial tools of the Agency including e-procurement. It also handles matters of access to documents.

The Unit provides the framework for setting the environmental policy of the Agency and coordinates the project aiming at EMAS registration.
Finally, the Unit maintains and operates EMSA’s premises and infrastructure, deals with safety and security matters, provides support for EMSA events and provides numerous support services.