After more than 2 years from its kick-off and involving 39 Maritime Authorities across 6 different Member States (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Malta and Greece), the Bluemassmed Pilot Project successfully concluded with the Bluemassmed European Demonstration Conference in Brussels on June 7, 2012. The project was promoted and funded by the EU DG MARE with the objective of favouring the integration of Maritime Surveillance on the Mediterranean Area and its Atlantic Approaches, a major milestone along the implementation of the C.I.S.E. roadmap (communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on a Draft Roadmap towards establishing the Common Information Sharing Environment for the Surveillance of the EU Maritime Domain”, COM/2010/0584 final).
As a distinctive feature of the project, the design authority was kept at institutional level and assigned to a Technical Working Group coordinated by Italy and including representatives of all the participating organisations. An open and decentralised network architecture for the interconnection of legacy Maritime Surveillance Systems operated under totally different policies and legal frameworks by the participating organisations was designed, enabling end-to-end sharing of common interest information among the stakeholders communities at cross sectorial and cross border level.
Moreover, a multinational industrial team was contracted under the respective member states responsibility, in order to develop and integrate a demonstrator and prove the feasibility of the proposed approach through a field experimentation on operational scenarios.
Our specialists have been supporting for more than 2 years the BMM project Technical Working Group, producing technical requirements of the general architecture and system requirements specifications for the Network Nodes Gateways in accordance with the NATO Architectural Framework methodology for the design of system-of-systems.
Moreover we have been involved in the experimentation coordination phase, developing use cases, scenarios and simulated data sets, and supervising the demonstration execution and the analysis of lessons learnt and feedback data from end-users for the final assessment of the feasibility and added value of the BMM approach.
The core technical result achieved by the project is the so-called “BMM Front-End”, a SOA machine-to-machine gateway bases on open source standards, interconnecting legacy surveillance systems through four main components: a SOAP over https platform independent protocol stack; a set of Harmonized Infrastructural Services for User/Service access federation and information protection mechanisms; a set of harmonized added value services built on Standard Web Services technology implementing common information, notification, alerts and geospatial information exchange; and finally a harmonized procedure (the “SBCMP Procedure”) compiling at each node a Shared Basic Common Maritime Picture able to support operational authorities solving conflicts and ambiguities in areas where multiple reporting of the same ships occur. Thanks to the envisaged network architecture, all Maritime Data/Systems owners can share through the BMM network information of common interest on a proactive and volunteer base and according to a selective data distribution and access policy which can be regulated at national and sectorial level. Moreover the Network Nodes do not need to transfer their own data to any central repository but rather directly to the end-users, and the owner / originator of the information provided is traced and maintained across the network. Finally, the designed technology enables interoperability among “loosely coupled systems”, i.e. leaving to the Stakeholders full freedom and independence in the design, exploitation and further evolution of their own maritime surveillance assets according to their current and future envisaged operational needs.
The European Commission has already committed resources and budget for the follow-up of the pilot projects in the period 2013-2015 through various instruments such as Cooperation Projects and the FP7 Research Program, that are now being launched. The lessons learnt from the Bluemassmed project at technical and technological level will be key to the success of such follow-up projects, that will need to pursue a proper full-scale project definition phase addressing specific areas such as the adoption of architectural solution for dual use systems’ interconnection, the detailed design of the information protection mechanism, the definition of the operational governance at program, network and configuration management level, the establishment of the detailed topology of the network, the harmonisation and further specifications of added value common services and algorithms based on a cost-benefit perspective, and the cooperative development of technological solutions and standards in order to ensure a full life cycle management of the future full-scale infrastructure.
Based on the experience gained so far, we are fully committed to support in the next years the further exploitation of the pilot project results along these envisaged routes, that will ultimately lead to establish an Integrated European Maritime Awareness capability, a key objective towards the goals of the European Maritime Security Strategy.