Important legal notices
Search on EUROPA   
Back to IDABC home page Back to IDABC home page

SAFESEANET: Safe Sea Network

    The effects of the oil spill from the tanker “Prestige” off Spain’s coast make the threats posed from accidents at sea all too clear. With the slick affecting the coastlines of France and Portugal, Europe needs to act as one. SAFESEANET aims to provide the means to do so, allowing rapid and efficient exchange of maritime information, so helping to keep Europe’s seas clean and safe.

How will it work?
Who benefits?
The role of IDA(BC)
Technical information

Last update: 09/2005


SAFESEANET, a European Platform for Maritime Data Exchange between Member States' maritime authorities, is a network/Internet solution based on the concept of a distributed database.

Prevention of accidents at sea and marine pollution is an essential component of the European Union's transport policy. Since 1993, the Commission has initiated over 15 proposed Directives or Regulations concerning passenger vessels' safety, prevention of pollution, port state control, requirements for seafarers, etc. Their implementation includes the collection and dissemination of maritime data which SAFESEANET supports.

For a dynamic overview of SAFESEANET, watch the dedicated video clip on the Commission's Audiovisual Library, available in the English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish versions.

Top of page


SAFESEANET's main objective is to aid the collection, dissemination and harmonised exchange of maritime data. The network assists communication between authorities at local/regional level and central authorities thus contributing to prevent accidents at sea and, by extension, marine pollution, and that the implementation of EU maritime safety legislation will be made more efficient.

Top of page

How does it work?

The SAFESEANET network involves many maritime authorities across Europe, each with their own IT infrastructure and objectives. This invariably leads to varying data formats distributed across different systems throughout Europe.

Consequently SAFESEANET has implemented a Central Index System that stores only references to the data locations and not the actual data itself. It functions as a central hub for all communication between data requesters and data providers - somewhat like a telephone switchboard. The Central Index needs to know what information each data provided holds. Data providers connected within the SAFESEANET network send information by means of a notification mechanism. The data provider, upon receiving queries from the data requester routed through the Central Index, retrieves the data from their local database. In this way the Central Index acts as the sole point of contact.

SAFESEANET has developed a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system according to Directive 2002/59/EC. In addition, it incorporates data exchange requirements from other EU Directives such as those relating to:

  • Port reception facilities for ship waste 
  • Port state control inspections in ports of the European Union.

SAFESEANET covers EU Member States plus Iceland and Norway and involve a number of different authorities per country, both at local and central level. The system uses new IT technologies, but is flexible enough to cope with possible future technological developments as well as new categories of users.

Top of page


  • Although SAFESEANET has made many technical achievements during its developmental phases. In 1995, the European Commission's DG Transport and Energy set up a first pilot project - Memorandum of Understanding Hazmat - for exchange of data between five maritime administrations on hazardous and polluting goods. It was based on Edifact/X400.
  • In view of the implementation of the Directive establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system, the SAFESEANET project was launched early 2002.
  • From January - September 2002, a feasibility study was carried out under the supervision of a Pilot-Group of MS experts (Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom). As a result, a general overview of the proposed solution, an architecture specification, a user requirements document and a Prototypes Guide were prepared.
  • The following phase of SAFESEANET was carried out between January and April 2003. It consists of a complementary feasibility study (interconnection, messages and security) based on the final specifications of the SAFESEANET system - Implementation and Deployment of the project, Integration and Assistance phase, and Hosting and Help Desk.
  • The development and implementation phase was launched on summer 2003 and completed in June 2004.
  • Since October 2004 the European Maritime Safety Agency has taken over the management of the system and is responsible for organising the follow up in cooperation with the Member State’s maritime administrations.

Top of page

Who benefits?

Public Administrations: Through the use of SAFESEANET, and its linked legislation, maritime authorities are able to improve controls of vessels in ports and produce statistics for the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), Member States and the European Commission. In addition, the once-only data collection process and a 'one-stop shop' for data provision simplify procedures and, consequently, increase the overall competitiveness of European ports by minimizing their administrative overheads.

Navigation survey services: This group is set to benefit by being able to increase efficiency of port logistics such as accurate Expected Times of Arrival, waste handling etc.

Search and rescue services: This group can better react in case of threat to maritime safety and the environment.

Anti-pollution services: These agencies aim to improve emergency responses in case of incidents or pollution at sea.

Others: Information contained in the SAFESEANET system and mandated by the control and safety at sea legislation, is often similar or even identical to information requested by other authorities. This could lead to a broadening of the SAFESEANET scope which could include information of interest to other bodies or administrations such as Customs and Border Police.

Top of page

The role of IDA(BC)

The information on SAFESEANET is constantly available, reliable and confidential. IDA(BC) ensures that access to the Central Index is restricted and secure yet available 24/7 on TESTA. Confidentiality is guaranteed by the use of PKI.

Top of page

Technical information

Project start date


Project completion date


Project status


IDA budget

2002 € 134,000

Responsible service

DG Transport and Energy

Project coordinator

Gilles Bergot
Aymeric De Marcellus
Yves Hardy


Countries involved

All EU Member States

Public/restricted website

Top of page


SafeSeaNet User Manual Version 1.8 27-Avr-2005

Documentary video clip - SAFESEANET - EN, FR, DE, ES, IT, PL

Global implementation plan and annual report
EnglishPDF[386 Kb]
 SAFESEANET Annual Report 2003 (PDF)
EnglishPDF[231 Kb]

Back to:

PCIs in the transport sector
Services to Public Administrations in Support of Community Policies
Other Projects of Common Interest