A safe North Sea through greater international cooperation
In Knokke the Belgian presidency of the European Coast Guard Functions Forum (ECGFF) is ended. In the ECGFF coast guards of several European countries work together to ensure safety at sea. On the final day of the international summit, Flemish Minister of Sea Fisheries Hilde Crevits stressed the importance of cooperation with the coast guard and other partners, raising awareness among fishermen and opting for innovation.
Cyber threats in the maritime sector
In January 2023, the maritime world was rocked by a large-scale ransomware attack on a leading classification society. More than 1,000 ships were affected. That attack is unfortunately not an isolated incident: in recent years, the entire maritime sector, from ports to passenger ships to classification societies, has been the target of cyber attacks on several occasions.
That is why the Cybersecurity Working Group within the European Coast Guard Forum was set up a few years ago. Thanks in part to the knowledge exchanged by member states in the working group on cybersecurity, many attacks can also be avoided every year.
This Cybersecurity working group, consisting of 32 experts from the various member states, met from 22 to 24 May in Brussels
The coast guard and monitoring and inspection of fisheries
What technologies are used and can potentially be used in the future for the monitoring and inspection of fisheries? What are the current and future developments in fisheries control? How does Belgium do it? What does the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) do and how do other European Union coastguard partners conduct fisheries control? How does this work in practice?
The Coast Guard and the European Green Deal
How does the Green Deal affect the operations of coast guard authorities from different European partners? The Green Deal is a package of policy initiatives launched by the European Commission which aims to make the European Union climate neutral by 2050. How can we make security and law enforcement in European waters as green and sustainable as possible? What opportunities does the Green Deal create for coast guard organisations? And what challenges does this pursuit of sustainability entail?
Successful first workshop under Belgian presidency of the ECGFF
In the framework of the Belgian presidency of the European Coast Guard Functions Forum (ECGFF), Frontex and the Belgian Maritime and River Police organised a workshop from February 28th till March 2nd with the assistance of the Coast Guard Secretariat. With approximately 100 participants from different European countries, interesting presentations, a panel discussion and numerous opportunities to exchange expertise and to network, it can be considered a very successful first edition of the workshops
Belgium chairs the European Coast Guard function forum
At the end of the 13th plenary session of the European Coast Guard Forum (ECGFF), held in Split from 5 to 7 September 2022, Belgium took over the role of president from Croatia.
Belgian president Piet Pieters and Flemish president Nathalie Balcaen received the European flag during the ceremony and exchanged information on the organisation of this important event.
This forum is a unique and excellent tool that allows us to exchange information and experiences, learn from joint exercises and devise solutions to common problems together. In short: to strengthen our ties with the coastguard organisations of European member states.
The Belgian Coast Guard is organising several activities in the coming year:
- a workshop together with Frontex/the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. This is important in the context of a common policy on, among other things, boat refugees.
- a workshop together with EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) covering a very wide range of topics related to maritime sustainability, security, and what the European Green Deal means for the maritime world.
- a meeting of the Cyber Security working group to go deeper into everything related to digital security in case of possible cyber attacks.
- the workshop "use of evidences obtained through modern technologies in Fisheries Control and Inspection" and Coastex exercise in cooperation with EFCA (European Fisheries Control Agency).
- a plenary conference in cooperation with DG MARE (Directorate General Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) to discuss the results of all workshops at strategic level and explain Belgian cases such as the need for a sea tug during storm conditions and the need for extra eyes in the sky for Search & Rescue.