Published: Tuesday, 03 December 2013 10:54
The Maritime group within the EAASP works in a highly stimulating and exciting environment. It is a complex domain encompassing multiple stakeholders and with many questions looking for answers. In my view, we can only find these answers through cooperation and by undertaking concrete activities together.
The Association has formulated a mission statement and set out a strategy, both reflecting the high value placed on effective collaboration in Europe between law enforcement organisations and public/private partnerships, for instance European Criminal Intelligence Units, SAGMAS, MARSEC, the BSRBCC, FRONTEX and AQUAPOL.
Policy development opportunities
In our strategic plans we identified a number of specific goals:
- To contribute to new legislation in the field of counter-terrorism
- Short Sea Shipping – to develop further cooperation and operational activities
- To encourage and develop opportunities for the exchange of staff
- To expand the membership
- To re-focus the direction of the Association (to an influential expert platform)
- To promote common standards
- To improve communication within the EAASP
- To exchange experience (best practice).
- This has resulted in more frequent invitations to participate in working groups across Europe.
- Another outcome has been the EU-funded EPSIEN project (European Port Security Information Exchange Network). The aim of the project was to create a network of officers in participating EU Member States through which to exchange information and define and promote harmonised dissemination regarding security incidents at port and fleet level.
I want to build on the developments already underway. In line with the goals already mentioned, I have focused on two main objectives this year: acquiring more members, and persuading existing members to be more proactive (whilst recognising each other's capabilities and limitations). Additionally, I want to:
- Demonstrate the advantages of membership (recognising differences in responsibilities and possibilities)
- Place more emphasis on concrete collaborative partnerships (internal and external)
- Take stock of areas where the exchange of information can be improved
- Convert the website into a true interactive platform
- Keep track of developments within the EU where the EAASP might interact and add value
- Develop closer contacts with other EU maritime organisations, such as Aquapol, CCIC or Frontex
- Improve communications and accessibility in real-time situations
- Clarify and map the structures and procedures of port security organisations
- Stimulate the exchange of secondees between member organisations.
It is clear to me that the EAASP's strength lies in the expertise of its members and in the excellent network that it provides. A more robust and interactive website will enable us to exchange operational knowledge and information more swiftly and efficiently, limiting the demand on members' time and energy, but at the same time galvanising the network into a more proactive organisation. The EAASP is in a good position to complement the work of other organisations.
In a perfect world I would like to be able to look back next year and say that all potential members have indeed signed up, that we are all familiar with each other's working methods, and that information and operational knowledge are being exchanged efficiently and effectively. Of course I realise that this is an utopian vision! Nevertheless, I am confident that there are areas where tangible progress can be made in a relatively short space of time.
Our starting point is always to make European ports the safest in the world. We can't do this individually, so I am inviting you to join me, the Executive Committee and the EAASP, to help travel in safety down this challenging path.