Objectives of the service
The project was a feasibility study with the objective of investigating the technical possibilities and commercial aspects of providing weather and sea-state related information for maritime search and rescue operations. The feasibility, including pros and cons, of both terrestrial and space-based assets for the collection, localization and distribution of the meteorological measurements was addressed in the project. Also, numerical weather prediction and issues related to situational overview of maritime SAR were within the scope of the project.
The overall objectives of the project required the completion of sub-objectives. These included e.g. the identification of stakeholders and end-users of the maritime SAR domain, description of user needs, review of existing technologies and services, specification of the system and services and assessment of the commercial viability of the proposed solution.
Users and their needs
The end users of the CAESAR system are actors involved in maritime Search and Rescue operations:
- Personnel of the maritime rescue coordination centres (MRCC or MRSC)
- Crew members of SAR (and other) vessels taking part in a SAR operation
- Personnel at weather forecast centres providing forecasts based on the observation data from the system
Service/ system concept
The CAESAR concept is based on getting additional observation data from a SAR operation area, e.g. from droppable buoys, other vessels in the area, or from satellite images, and using these observations in providing more detailed current weather and sea state information and generating more detailed local weather, sea state and drift forecasts to support decision-making in an operation.
Space Added Value
Space assets play a significant role in meteorological services for maritime search and rescue. Satellite navigation and positioning are essential elements in any SAR mission. Earth observation produces data for weather forecasting and satellite images can also be used in SAR operations, depending on the nature of the operation and availability of suitable images. Satellite communications are used for voice and data transmissions in areas that are not covered by terrestrial networks.
The project was finished in March 2014. It was concluded that commercial potential in the envisaged CAESAR system as a whole could not be identified. This is due to the fact that the topics addressed in the CAESAR project are normally dealt with by governmental organisations. However, each of the proposed elements of the CAESAR service carries some added value, but the amount of effort required varies. The amount of effort should be used as one criterion for the prioritization of the CAESAR service elements and their further development. The recommendation is to first pursue the drifting service and the visibility/icing service using the funding sources available to the stakeholders. The technologies required to implement these services include e.g. drifters and ship-based observations, which should be pursued first due to their low cost. An extensive deployment of stationary buoys would require national, inter-organizational co-operation so that the relatively high costs associated with them could be covered by several application areas utilizing the data from the stationary buoys.