Central ship database
At the centre of the European maritime picture, EMSA has developed multiple maritime information systems over the two decades of its existence. These systems provide vital information to national authorities, industry, and all those working in maritime. Each one of EMSA’s systems uses core reference data like ship identification information and particulars, location codes, country codes, public organisation details, and code lists.
To bring all this information together in a way that avoids duplication and gives the greatest benefits to those who use it, EMSA has developed central databases which hold reference information that is made available to maritime information services.
In June 2019, EMSA launched a pilot project for the development of enhanced ship database services, specifically to develop a second version of its existing Central Ship Database (CSD) to offer reference information on ship identification information and characteristics to EMSA’s own maritime services and to the national maritime systems of the Member States.
Collaborative development for a central reference system
The concept for the new CSD was developed in collaboration with participating Member States and had as its core aim the ability to support Member State authorities and EU agencies in the execution of their tasks (e.g., Port State control, vessel traffic monitoring, fisheries control, border control, law enforcement).
As the information from CSD is intended to serve as a reference for Member States authorities and EU agencies, it had to gather information from reliable and trusted sources, with all information fully traceable.
The first stage of CSD v2 had to hold information on commercial ships and fishing vessels. Extension to other types of ships, such as leisure crafts, was planned to be investigated at a later stage of development. Once tested with the participating Member States, CSD v2 would then be opened to other users of EMSA maritime information systems.
CSD v2 go-live
In January 2022, a first operational delivery of the CSD was released by EMSA and integrated with the following data sources:
SafeSeaNet (ship data from Port Call notications, Incident Reports, Ship Mandatory Reporting System notifications and exemptions)
LRIT CDC (ship data from the LRIT ship database)
THETIS (ship data from Port State Control inspections)
Fishing vessels record (information on EU fishing vessels)
The commercial data provider IHS Markit (information on commercial ships of 100 GT and above)
The CSD currently holds information on more than 300,000 ships, including more than 120,000 active ships; the remaining vessels are either under construction or out of service. Since CSD’s launch, the data quality has been monitored and the data consolidation logic has been progressively fine-tuned. A further improvement of the system was delivered in July 2022 to further improve the data control mechanisms to offer a better reliability on ship identifiers.
SSN was adapted to interface with the CSD, so it could become a reference for identifying ships in the notifications received from the national systems of the EU Member States. SSN became the first of the EMSA maritime applications to be integrated with the CSD.
Project funded by the European Union –
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
Find out more about the interoperability project: