Germany is both a shipping nation and a coastal state. Maritime security is therefore of paramount importance for the Federal Republic of Germany as an export-oriented country. New challenges, such as the growing demand for safe and effective shipping on the world's oceans and inland waterways, call for modern maritime safety systems and services. DLR is making an important contribution to increasing maritime security. In addition to government authorities and public institutions, the maritime industry also benefits from the innovative solutions of DLR security research.
The maritime space and its uses
For centuries, maritime space has had a great influence on the life, economy and prosperity of mankind. In the 21st century, much of the world's long-distance goods transport will continue to be carried by sea, and this will not change in the foreseeable future. This may happen a little faster than it did 100 years ago and for some goods, maritime transport may also be in competition with air transport. However, the increase in globalisation and population, and general economic growth have multiplied the number of shipping movements for the transport of goods compared to earlier times. The volume of traffic on the world's oceans and in coastal areas is also rising sharply: on the one hand due to increasing tourism, on the other hand due to the use of the oceans as a diverse source of resources and as an important location for offshore wind fields.
This is hardly noticed in everyday life. The result of this development is a dependence on maritime space, which is hardly recognisable to many people today, or, to be more precise, on the fact that worldwide shipping traffic and the handling of international cargo in the world's harbours take place smoothly and, above all, safely.
Global challenges of maritime security
Piracy is not the only phenomenon that requires attention. Rather, it is a matter of tackling the myriad problems of maritime security in an effective and synergistic way. The maritime system with its classic – in the future, automated or autonomous – ship traffic, offshore facilities of the oil, gas and wind energy industry, submarine cables and pipelines, and not the least ports, must therefore be seen as a network of often critical infrastructures. These pose many challenges to a safe working environment, safe transport routes, efficient and safe shipping and a marine environment that is as unpolluted as possible, both in terms of operational safety and security.
Many associations, organisations, and authorities are already rising up to these global tasks. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set itself the goal of making shipping safer and more efficient and the oceans cleaner. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) and the EU initiative Copernicus have also taken up and promoted the issue.
National Measures and Instruments
On 1 April 2009, the German government adopted guidelines for the ‘Sea Development Plan’ as part of a comprehensive German maritime policy. Germany's maritime policy interests are bundled together here based on the known challenges and the resulting requirements of the Federal Government and the individual Federal state governments; priorities, measures and instruments for political action are also identified. The National Master Plan Maritime Technologies (NMMT) is a strategic instrument available under the priority ‘Strengthening Marine Science and Research; Promoting Technological Innovation’. DLR's Research Network for Maritime Security, in close cooperation with industry, would like to make a contribution to this implementation and support the 2025 Maritime Agenda of the Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy (BMWi). The Maritime Agenda 2025 defines key objectives, fields of action and proposals for coordinated measures that contribute to the sustainable use of the oceans and a high level of protection. Furthermore, the competitiveness of Germany as a technology, production and logistics location is to be strengthened in the medium and long term.
Synergies – Maritime security research at DLR
Civil maritime security research at DLR is a cross-sectional field that encompasses various topics from the aeronautics, space and transport programmes with a direct link to maritime security issues. The primary objective of the research work conducted by DLR must be to develop solutions to reduce the tension between the increasing use and importance of maritime space, its maritime infrastructures and the resulting risks, dangers and threats. To achieve this goal, the Maritime Security Research Network attaches particular importance to innovative solutions in the following areas:
- Ground and space communications and navigation
- Airborne and space-based Earth observation of maritime space
- Big Data analysis, data intelligence and knowledge acquisition
- Further development of aerial systems for maritime use
- Development and improvement of sensor technology for maritime issues, and
- Security in maritime cyberspace