The EMSA website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, in accordance with the EMSA privacy notice. Find out more on how we use cookies


Operational services

ims operational services

Traffic monitoring

Integrated maritime services are offered to all EU and EFTA Member States. Member States can make full use of a range of integrated vessel reporting information from terrestrial and satellite AIS, LRIT, VMS, as well as national vessel position data such as coastal radar, patrol assets, and leisure craft.

The services are being developed to include meteorological and oceanographic data, as well as a number of automated behaviour algorithms to be used for different monitoring and surveillance purposes. These algorithms are configurable and provide alerts responding to user defined policies. Integrated data can be streamed directly to national systems, presented on a user-friendly graphical interface, and will soon be delivered on mobile devices.

Users belong to a wide range of maritime organisations with different responsibilities at national level, including inter-alia, regional and global traffic monitoring.

Search and rescue

EMSA provides an advanced Search and Rescue service to the EU Member States. The service is called the 'Enhanced SAR SURPIC' (Search and Rescue Surface Picture) and it can be used by maritime Search and Rescue authorities during rescue operations. The SAR SURPIC provides an overview picture of the ships present in any ocean region, worldwide. Nearby ships can then be contacted to go to the rescue of the seafarers in distress. The SAR SURPIC combines information on the position of ships from all available sources, including satellite AIS and LRIT. The system can also include the position information of fishing vessels from VMS. This is the first time that so much information has been made available in a single tool for the safety of seafarers, even in remote areas.

Pollution monitoring

EMSA's integrated maritime services support pollution monitoring through providing the possibility to combine the full range of vessel reporting information (AIS, LRIT, VMS), as well as position reports from national systems (e.g. coastal radar) in addition to satellite imagery (synthetic aperture radar and optical from the CleanSeaNet service) and meteorological and oceanographic data. This creates a detailed maritime picture for both routine and emergency pollution monitoring.

The service, which complements the existing CleanSeaNet service, enables relevant authorities in the EU and EFTA Member States, in accordance with existing access rights, to analyse relevant oil spills (or other types of pollution) and make use of the integrated stream of vessel information to identify possible polluters. End users can also see where the potential polluter may be heading and can ensure a follow-up port state inspection.

Furthermore, authorities are able to see where their relevant national oil spill response assets are located, to assist in the feedback and confirmation process and/or oil spill clean-up activities.

Maritime border control

An operational service has been developed to support the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (Frontex) operations under the auspices of the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur). The service includes system-to system interfaces for real-time vessel position information exchange and automated vessel behaviour monitoring. Vessel information originates from both terrestrial and satellite-based systems as well as other available positioning data, and is correlated against satellite aperture radar and optical imagery derived vessel detections.


The EU Naval Forces (EU NAVFOR) conduct anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and the Indian Ocean area, supporting the EU merchant fleet. An Integrated Maritime Service is delivered to EU NAVFOR which includes the correlation and integration of a wide range of vessel reporting information (LRIT, coastal AIS, satellite AIS, shipborne AIS, ship reporting systems) as well as intelligence led information such as merchant vessel piracy risk profiles, into a customised maritime picture. On-demand, satellite vessel detection data (both radar and optical images) can also be integrated in order to detect non-correlated targets in the area of interest.

Fisheries monitoring

EMSA provides support to European Fisheries Control Agency's (EFCA) coordinated Joint Deployment Plan operations (JDP) for fisheries activities in the Mediterranean, North and Eastern Atlantic, and the North Sea waters. It includes a real time maritime awareness operational picture, fusing and correlating VMS, terrestrial AIS, satellite AIS, and LRIT position reports together with visual sightings, as well as establishing a common fishery vessel registry. The service provides a tool for behaviour analysis, risk assessment and classification of possible non-compliance targets, and drives the fisheries monitoring activity assessment and follow-up performed by EFCA.

Anti-drug trafficking operations

The MAOC (N) is an initiative by 6 EU Member Countries (France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal) and the UK, with financial support from the European Commission (Directorate-General Home Affairs). MAOC (N) provides a forum for multi-lateral cooperation to suppress illicit drug trafficking by sea and air. EMSA supports MAOC (N) anti-drug operations by enabling access to the EMSA integrated maritime services, through which the Centre can use integrated vessel information to monitor and track suspect vessels operating in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.