The Nord Stream pipelines sabotage was a wake-up call - yet part of a larger trend. Recent security incidents in the Gulf of Gascony, North Sea, Baltic Sea, and Arctic regions show Europe’s critical maritime infrastructure is at risk. Hundreds of millions of Europeans depend upon such infrastructure for their livelihoods, food, energy, and safety - which makes protecting our infrastructure at sea of vital interest to national and European security. However, the dispersed nature of maritime security today, with its many stakeholders each of which has their own responsibilities and competencies, makes this task extraordinarily complex. We all feel the need and urgency of protecting Europe’s critical infrastructure at sea, but getting the right information at the right place at the right time remains an obstacle to this mission. In fact, according to the new EU Directive on the Resilience of Critical Entities, owners/operators and public authorities are now obliged to take appropriate measures to safeguard critical infrastructure. Easier said than done, as existing monitoring capabilities are costly and not available to everyone. Smaller countries such as the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland already indicated that they lack the tools to fulfil their obligations. Owner/operators too are looking for cost-effective ways to protect their properties.
FOCAS Maritime tackles this obstacle directly by automatically alerting the owners-operators of maritime infrastructure as well as competent national authorities in case of suspicious activities in the vicinity of these maritime sites, using a combination of different space-based sensors from the Copernicus and Galileo programmes. Data sources included in the FOCAS Maritime AI-powered near-real-time ‘Monitoring, Analysis, and Alert System’ (MAAS) include multiple spectra of electromagnetic radiation (such as visible light, infrared, and radio waves) as well as Positioning, Navigation, and Timing data (PNT). MAAS continuously analyses these various forms of gathered data for any discrepancies, in a rapid, objective, and fully automated manner thanks due to our proprietary implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
In case such discrepancies are found in the data, MAAS alerts the owners of the maritime infrastructure assets potentially affected by hostile interference in an accessible yet information-rich manner. Alert messages sent to owners provide the owner with all relevant satellites data gathered by MAAS in plain language, not requiring any speciality training to interpret the alert so that the appropriate security measures can be taken immediately. In addition, the monitoring frequency of these potentially affected assets is automatically increased, further enabling the owners’ information-driven decision-making process and apt response.
Thanks to a focus on delivering a space-based security monitoring service that suits the purposes of maritime infrastructure owners first and foremost, FOCAS Maritime enables these organisations to keep their maritime assets secure in near-real-time, without red tape, and at low cost; directly contributing to keeping Europe’s critical infrastructure at sea secure.
We are five Dutchmen with different backgrounds, combining our expertise in automatisation, critical infrastructure, space applications, and the European security and defence sphere. Bas, Christiaan and Tim bring together their knowledge of the space domain, defence policy and business management to draft the business plan for the product. Vasko and Jesse are the engineering core of the project, working on the actual end-product using their knowledge of AI and cloud engineering.