A Spanish Approach to Maritime Security: The Role of Salvamento Marítimo


06/16/2011: A very interesting presentation by one user of Airbus Military products at the Airbus Military Trade Media event was by Néstor Perales, Surveillance and Prediction Manager at Salvamento Marítimo. http://www.salvamentomaritimo.es/

The organization provided a different business model for the use of a fleet of planes and ships to deliver a service.  The company owns a capability to deliver a service to the Spanish state.  In some ways, this is reminiscent of the Australian approach.http://www.casr.ca/id-senate-australia.htm The organization is a public corporate entity attached to the Ministry of Public Works in Spain.  It was established in 1992 and began operations in 1993.

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Photo Credit:  Salvamento Maritimo

The organization provides four types of services:

  • Search and rescue;
  • Preventing and combating maritime pollution;
  • Provide maritime traffic control services;
  • Provide services involving towing.

The organization has more than 1000 professionals, 21 maritime rescue coordination centers operating 24/7, with strategic bases and one training center.The organization owns a mixed fleet to provide for its services.  It has 74 ships, 11 helicopters and five planes, including three CN-235-300s. These planes are used in support of the first two types of services, namely S and R and dealing with monitoring and combating maritime pollution.“Because of the size of the surface of the Spanish waters and because we have to operate far from our coasts, it is necessary to use satellites as well as planes to monitor the region. We belong to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and we receive significant input from this agency for satellite coverage.  And we use three Airbus Military aircraft as well as two smaller visual surveillance planes (the Beechcraft Baron 855) in the effort as well.”

The result is impressive from the joint coverage effort. “We can cover more than 30 million square kilometers with a satellite image and also with our planes. We can control more than 60 thousand vessels in navigation. And we use more then 3 thousand flight hours to support our efforts.”The Airbus Military aircraft have integrated sensors, which are used to deliver a comprehensive product. “One of the most important sensors in the aircraft is an all-weather sensor, and thanks to it we can operate during the day and also during the night. “

Perales added: “When the aircraft lands, we can reconstruct the operation, we can rebuild all the mission, and know exactly where the aircraft was. And everything is collected by us, and then provided to the Spanish authorities. They’re responsible to prosecute any wrong doers.”