Blue Belt

  • ACTIVITYDemonstration Project
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREAMaritime and Aquatic

Objectives of the service

The main objective of the ESA Blue Belt demonstration project is to support the EMSA Blue Belt pilot project, through the acquisition and provision of space-based AIS data from existing space-assets, in order to complement the terrestrial data.

More generally, it aims at demonstrating that such satellite based services can provide an added-value as complement and back up to the terrestrial AIS network, for the provision of services based on these data.

Users and their needs

The main users of the described service will be namely the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and European custom authorities identified at European Commission (EC) level for the Blue Belt pilot project.

Service/ system concept

The Blue Belt concept is based on the combination of vessel monitoring/tracking information provided through the pilot project, with existing customs tools, in order to provide a higher degree of certainty regarding vessel voyage information and support an easier decision making process for customs formalities.

The SAT-AIS data will be used as a complement to the terrestrial AIS data.

Space Added Value

The main added-value of SAT-AIS data for the Blue Belt initiative, compared to terrestrial AIS, is to provide an extended ship tracking coverage, ensuring a continuous tracking of the Blue Ships which undergo the demonstration.

Current Status

The service has been operational since October 20th 2011, 13:00 UTC, as planned, with data provided by the two space AIS data providers KSAT/FFI and exactEarth Europe (It has been a challenge for the CLS Team to start the data delivery in only three weeks after the kick-off meeting).

EMSA is receiving SAT-AIS data since that date, and can rely on this new data feed when reporting to European Custom Authorities within the Blue Belt framework.

End of March 2012, a new partner, LuxSpace, was added to the team, via a CCN, for the delivery of an additional space AIS data stream in order to complement the KSAT/FFI and exactEarth Europe data and further increase the quality of the information provided to the Customs Authorities.

The service stopped end of July as per contract. A detailed report was prepared by CLS and presented during the project Final Presentation to ESA, ESA Member States and EMSA on the 13th of September 2012. This presentation highlighted the main outcomes and lessons learned from the project. EMSA acknowledged the added-value and complementarity of the delivered space AIS data for the Blue Belt service, and mentioned that the European Commission is currently discussing the modalities for a permanent Blue Belt service and a corresponding "upgrade" of the customs rules. Furthermore, the project also provided a comprehensive and detailed review of relative and total performances of current Space based AIS capabilities vs. service requirements.

Status Date

Updated: 01 November 2012 - Created: 15 February 2014