Promenade Hellenic Trial Execution
February 22 of 2023, Corfu Island and Piraeus, Greece
The PROMENADE project focuses on the improvement of maritime awareness by means of AI and BD methods. PROMENADE has got 5 main objectives:
- Develop new technologies that will provide to the Border Guard Authorities an open service-based Toolkit by implementing innovative algorithms for AI and ML applied to maritime surveillance reporting systems,
- Build up on previous H2020 projects, taking the advantage of their results and enhancing them,
- Facilitate a fruitful collaboration among Cross-border agencies in the maritime surveillance,
- Shorten the adoption time to innovative technologies by the Border Guards Authorities,
- Ensure compliance of all the project activities with legal and ethical regulations and norms,
PROMENADE project is coordinated by the Hellenic Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Insular Policy (MMAIP) and the Consortium is composed of 16 partners from 7 European countries, end users included.
The main goal of the Hellenic Trial was to test and validate the use of the PROMENADE services by the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) in their operational activity of tracking smuggling of illegal goods and irregular immigration. The operational area of interest is the Corfu straits between Corfu Island and Albanian coastline. The Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) had the operational role from the Consortium while Satways the technical leading role.
The trial took place on Wednesday 22nd of February 2023 with personnel deployed at Corfu Island (HCG Central Port Authority of Corfu – Special Operations Unit) and in Piraeus (HCG Headquarters). The trial consisted of 2 scenarios that aimed at exploiting Artificial Intelligence and Big Data technologies demonstrating the advanced CISE-compliant solutions of PROMENADE Toolkit, to improve vessel tracking and continuously detecting abnormal behavior patterns of vessels, used for smuggling and human trafficking in the Ionian Sea.
One week before the actual Hellenic trial execution, the personnel of HCG were trained to use the equipment, sensors and the Command-and-Control system that was used to demonstrate the PROMENADE Toolkit.
For the Hellenic trial, three (3) patrol vessels, owned by HCG, were used.
Additionally, and thanks to the PROMENADE project, a patrol van of HCG has been entirely renovated and equipped with innovative maritime sensors (radar, thermal camera, AIS, mobile C2 etc.) integrated in real time with the HCG legacy systems at strategic level enhancing maritime situation awareness.
In the first scenario (drop-off) many abnormal behaviors were detected such as abnormal maneuvers and speed changes, path crossing, geofence intrusion etc. Many data sources were used to provide a rich situational assessment of where the suspicious vessels were along with the patrol vessel. The cargo vessel, loaded with illegal goods, dropped off the package in the sea. Soon after a suspicious vessel appeared and picked up the illegal cargo. This activity triggered the patrol vessel of HCG to investigate the situation and ultimately arrested the suspect vessel. According to the Hellenic – Albanian agreement against illegal smuggling activities, the Albanian authorities were notified, and the suspect cargo vessel was arrested upon its arrival to the Albanian port of ship’s final destination.
The second scenario involved 2 vessels, again in the northern side of Corfu Island, where they were traveling alongside for some time. This pattern raised the first alerts. The sudden changes of speed and course raised critical alerts, so upon the attempt of the suspicious vessel to approach Corfu coast with a high speed, the HCG National HQ commanded timely the patrol vessel to apprehend and arrest the suspects.
The operational scenarios were run with the involvement of simulated & real vessels, actors on the field, data acquired from PROMENADE toolkit, alerts were generated, and reports were filled out by the operators.
The involved partners in the Hellenic Trial were:
- Hellenic Ministry of Maritime Affairs – Hellenic Coast Guard
- Marine Traffic
- NATO CMRE
- Università Cattolica – Transcrime
External stakeholders attending the Hellenic Trial:
- DG HOME
- External advisors and end-users