On 28 May 2020 and for one year, the European Fisheries Control Agency took over the rotating chairmanship of the European cooperation on Coast Guard functions, formalised through a Tripartite Working Arrangement between the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
The EU cooperation on Coast Guard functions focus on further enhancing operational support to European national authorities carrying out Coast Guard function at national and Union level, and where appropriate, at international level.
In particular, during this period, the Practical Handbook on European cooperation on coast guard functions will keep a high profile. This is a key guidance document being developed under the coordination of the three EU agencies in close cooperation with the relevant competent national authorities. The handbook consists of a catalogue of services and training opportunities for Member States made possible through the cooperation, best practice guidelines and manuals, a compilation of regional cooperation mechanisms and fact sheets identifying the Member State authorities. In close cooperation with the Member States authorities, the three agencies will also enhance the update and sharing of maritime data, synergies on Earth observation, sharing of data from surveillance assets, cross-sector training and capacity building, cross-sector risk analysis and multipurpose operations at sea.
´The three agencies aim at best helping the needs of the Member States for cross-sectorial activities especially during these difficult times when support of the EU agencies is mostly needed´, said the Executive Director Pascal Savouret
The exhaustive list of functions falling under the Coast Guard encompasses maritime search and rescue, maritime safety, including vessel traffic management, maritime, ship and port security, maritime customs activities, the prevention and suppression of trafficking and smuggling and connected maritime law enforcement, maritime border control, maritime monitoring and surveillance, maritime environmental protection and response, ship casualty and maritime assistance service, maritime accident and disaster response, fisheries inspection and control and other associated activities.
Considering the diversity of the Coast Guard functions, the three EU agencies support the Member States through the following cross-sectoral activities: