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Frontex to implement border surveillance services as part of Copernicus

2015-12-17

Frontex and the European Commission signed a delegation agreement today, providing funding to the agency to implement satellite services dedicated to border surveillance as part of the Copernicus programme.

The Commission will provide EUR 47.6 million to Frontex between 2015 and 2020 to support the following services: coastal monitoring, monitoring of international waters, reference mapping, maritime surveillance of an area, vessel detection, vessel tracking and reporting, anomaly detection and environmental assessment.

Copernicus is a European system for monitoring the Earth. It consists of a complex set of systems which collect data from multiple sources: earth observation satellites, along with ground stations, airborne and sea-borne sensors and other sensors.

 “The dedicated border surveillance service of the security component of the Copernicus programme will improve the situational awareness at the EU’s external borders and contribute to the detection of cross-border crime. It has the potential to reduce the death toll of migrants at sea by spotting vessels in need of assistance,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

The data provided by Copernicus would also support existing Frontex services.

Frontex already provides information collected from satellites and other surveillance tools at the European level. Member states can use such information to further improve their situational awareness. The collection of these services, called Eurosur Fusion Services, facilitates access to state of the art technologies, help reduce the duplication of efforts by member states and reduces costs.

The Eurosur Fusion Services include automated vessel tracking and detection capabilities, software functionalities allowing complex calculations for detecting anomalies and predicting vessel positions, as well as precise weather and oceanographic forecasts. Fusion Services use optical and radar satellite technology to locate vessels requiring search and rescue operations or those that are suspected of being engaged in criminal activities, such as drug or weapon smuggling. Many of the services are delivered in cooperation with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the EU Satellite Centre (SatCen).

The Copernicus services address six thematic areas: land, marine, atmosphere, climate change, emergency management and security.

Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri signed the agreement with Lowri Evans, Director-General DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (GROW).

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