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The dangers at sea have multiplied, Brussels has announced measures

In its announcement, the European Commission stated: the seas must be safe, because more than 80 percent of world trade takes place by sea, and about two-thirds of the world’s crude oil and natural gas reserves are either produced at sea or transported by sea. Up to 99 percent of the global data flow takes place via submarine cables, they wrote.

The board drew attention to the fact that

security threats have also multiplied on the seas.

Longstanding illegal activities such as piracy, armed robbery at sea, migrant smuggling and trafficking, arms and drug trafficking, and terrorism remain a challenge. However, in addition to new and changing threats, the challenges related to the increasing geopolitical competition, climate change and the deterioration of the marine environment, as well as hybrid and cyber attacks, must also be addressed – they emphasized.

The measures of the EU’s updated maritime defense strategy and action plan include the organization of EU-wide naval exercises, the development of additional coast guard operations in European sea basins, the strengthening of member states’ maritime presences, and an increase in the frequency of defense inspections in EU ports. Part of the strategy is to deepen the cooperation between the EU and NATO, as well as to increase cooperation with all relevant international partners in order to maintain the rules-based maritime order, especially with regard to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, they wrote.

The measures also include strengthening the surveillance role of coastal and high seas patrol vessels and the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE), which aims to ensure that relevant national and EU authorities can share information securely. The measures also call for regular maritime exercises involving civilian and military actors to monitor and protect vital maritime infrastructure and ships against physical and cyber threats, and to clear unexploded ordnance and bombs at sea. It also provides for the development of common requirements for maritime defense technologies, relevant education and training for the development of hybrid and cyber security qualifications. In its statement, the European Commission finally asked the member states to approve and implement the strategy.

Cover image: Getty Images