At a glance
Policy support and research
VESCOSUR is a young JRC action in the maritime domain. It is designed to contribute to EU policies for internal security, customs and maritime affairs, by exploiting synergies between existing JRC capacities in maritime surveillance and container cargo monitoring.
In its second year of operation, the Action addresses technological support to public actors in EU maritime border surveillance, integration of maritime surveillance through better maritime data exchange, and regional maritime capacity building for counter-piracy off the African coasts. For what concerns the trade of goods, it uses its container monitoring and targeting technology (Contraffic) to help EU customs authorities cross-check systematically the goods origin inside import declarations and complements container profiling by customs with route-based risk indicators. In 2013, VESCOSUR will study the feasibility of exploiting advanced cargo information for safety and security purposes.
The above activities are underpinned by collaborative and direct applied research. This research focuses on innovative sensors for maritime surveillance, information extraction from SAR images, maritime data fusion, and, for what concerns container itineraries, data mining and anomaly detection. VESCOSUR is also addressing standards and interoperability for maritime surveillance and supply chain security.
In 2012, about 60% of VESCOSUR's overall effort and output was for policy support with about 35% for research and less than 5% for technology transfer and innovation. The action has also been spending resources and time on outreach and awareness, in particular for its maritime surveillance activities e.g. the counter-piracy line of work or maritime border surveillance. Networking with national authorities, agencies and international organizations is very strong, while with industry, networking is mainly done through partnerships in FP collaborative research projects. VESCOSUR also contributes on occasion to crisis response with its technologies, as was the case of the Costa Concordia emergency management operations in 2012, where VESCOSUR offered its Melissa radar to monitor displacements of the wreck with unique accuracy.
VESCOSUR is a JRC institutional action contributing to the Policy Theme Europe as a world partner as part of the Global Security agenda, as well as to the Policy Theme Security and Freedom as part of the Internal Security agenda. VESCOSUR is relevant to both Smart Growth and Sustainable Growth in the framework of Europe2020 objectives, but is also relevant to the External Dimension (e.g. through action work on critical maritime routes or anti-piracy). VESCOSUR work in maritime information exchange clearly addresses the Digital Agenda for Europe.
While most of VESCOSUR's attention is focused on national authorities and policy makers, industry also receives indirect support. For instance, JRC is defining services for maritime border surveillance, that ultimately require industry to implement them. Finally, most of the action's activities address complex and trully global issues whose solution requires effective networking.
Customers and stakeholders
VESCOSUR provides policy support to a number of Directorate Generals and Services of the Commission. For its maritime surveillance activities these are DG MARE, DG DEVCO, DG ENTR, DG HOME and DG MOVE, while for its container monitoring and risk analysis activities, these are OLAF and DG TAXUD.
VESCOSUR's stakeholders include EU agencies like the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation (FRONTEX), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the European Defence Agency (EDA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the EU Satellite Centre (EUSC). At the national level, key stakeholders and partners are customs and maritime authorities of EU Member States. The action also liaises with relevant UN Agencies.