Use of CISE in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea basin discussed in Athens

Maritime authorities from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy and Greece gathered in Athens and via videoconferencing on 7-8 November 2023 to discuss the possible use of CISE in maritime operations in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea basin. The workshop was hosted by the Hellenic Navy and co-organised with EMSA within the scope of the CISE Sea basin strategy.


The workshop was opened by Captain Spyridon Pollatos from the Hellenic Navy who pointed out that CISE can play an important role in the exchange of critical real-time information between the maritime authorities of the EU Member States. Promoting cross-sectoral and cross border information exchange is vital, particularly in the context of increasing threats and with the need to strengthen the protection of the maritime domain and to safeguard the freedom of navigation. Captain Pollatos further stressed that the main challenge now is to move from the technical context of CISE to the operational one.

Further in the opening remarks, Mr Dario Vaschetto from the European Commission’s DG MARE pointed to the updated EU Maritime Security Strategy (EUMSS) and its Action Plan which was approved by the General Affairs Council on 24 October 2023. The new EUMSS highlights among its key actions the commitment to start the operational phase of CISE, to enhance maritime domain awareness and also to boost resilience and protect critical maritime infrastructure. Mr Vaschetto encouraged MS authorities from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea basin to consider the specificity of the region (in terms of threats and needs) and make the most out of CISE, exploiting fully the additional information that CISE can provide compared to the information already available via the sectoral maritime surveillance systems already in use.

The workshop provided a platform for maritime authorities in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea basin region to brainstorm and identify the most critical maritime security threats common for this region and how to address them with the use of CISE. The participants presented different scenarios in which CISE is used for gathering of additional information, and, thus, helping the involved authorities to conduct their operations at sea even more effectively. During the workshop, EMSA also explained how to define the useful services and data to be shared via CISE and which CISE operational services can help to obtain an enhanced maritime picture.

The CISE workshop for the Eastern Mediterranean Sea basin was held in the framework of the CISE Sea basin strategy, aiming to enhance cooperation and information exchange among maritime authorities within specific sea basins in the EU. Thus far, similar activities have been initiated for the Western Mediterranean Sea and the Adriatic Sea.

The workshop was attended by 18 representatives of public authorities from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Italy, and from EU institutions (European Commission’s DG MARE and JRC, and EMSA).