CoESS maritime experts visit Port of Antwerp

Ports and their infrastructures are a key source for economic prosperity and mobility in Europe. In many countries, they are crucial for trade, supply chains, transport and tourism. They are a driver of jobs, business and a country’s economy.

However, maritime infrastructure is also vulnerable to a multiple and complex threats, ranging from smuggling to terrorist attacks. Private security companies play an important part in their security chains, which is why public-private partnerships are key to deal with the complex challenges that ports are facing today.

CoESS’ Maritime Security Committee and its experts from all over Europe were therefore very interested to meet the security unit of the Port of Antwerp – Europe’s second largest port. Together, they discussed solutions for prevention and protection at port facilities, as well as emergency planning and response preparedness of all stakeholders involved. Alongside the state-level forum for maritime security in Belgium, the Port Information Network (Buurt Informatie Netwerk – BIN) plays an important role in the exchange of information with private actors operating in the port in case of an emergency.

Both sides agreed that the continued professionalisation of Port Facility Security Officers (PFSOs) is crucial to ensure a high-level of security.  Close public-private cooperation is key to tackle security-related challenges, for example concerning the threats arising from international terrorism and cybersecurity.

The CoESS Maritime / Port Security Committee met the day after the to discuss among others the ongoing work at DG MOVE’s MARSEC Committee. The Committee finalised and adopted the CoESS White Paper on Passenger Ship Security, which Guido Fallentheyn will present at the next European Commission Working Group on Ferry Security, where he serves as the CoESS representative.