Half-day Seminar in conjunction with the CALYPSO Project .

Adopting new technologies for the control of the trans-boundary maritime space

- A challenge for the shelf area of the Maltese Islands and Southern Sicily



Venue: Grand Hotel Excelsior, Floriana

Date:28th May 2012 (9.00 a.m. -– 1.00p.m.)


Marine research and technology uptakes in the maritime industries and related services constitute in Malta and Sicily, as for other maritime regions in the EU, the backbone for competitiveness and economic strength. This is to be paralleled by investments in human and infra-structural resources that match the needs of the future evolution of the marine sector in general. On the other hand, effective responses to challenges in shared sea basins cannot be tackled without international cooperation. The quest for sustainable development is expected to be more exigent on the intelligent management of the marine environment, to protect the marine ecosystem, minimise the impacts of anthropogenic and climate change influences, and provide wide-ranging benefits. There is an evident evolution in the way that policy undertakings, management of marine resources, coastal planning and efficient marine operations are perceived and implemented. There is a greater understanding that actions need to be made on the basis of informed decisions, demanding an integrated approach to maritime affairs that is based on networked management and decision support systems, and on the sustained delivery of reliable and routine marine data. Competent national authorities are in quest of new technologies and tools for improved response to marine hazards, better control of the trans-boundary maritime space, and greater efficiency for security and safety at sea.

Furthermore, we are more conscious against hazards that can put at risk our lives, and natural and economic resources. The risk of oil from marine spillages beaching on shores, hitting important infrastructure and causing irreversible environmental damage is a very realistic menace in the stretch of sea between Malta and Sicily. Especially in a small island state like Malta where economic assets are concentrated in space, the damage would be even more devastating. This risk is high because the islands are situated along the main shipping lanes of the Mediterranean Sea. Risks can be highly minimised by using the best tools for surveillance, operational monitoring against pollution threats, as well as a capacity to respond with informed decisions in case of emergency.

The target of this half-day seminar, jointly organized by the Physical Oceanography Unit of the IOI-Malta Operational Centre of the University of Malta, Transport Malta, Armed Forces of Malta and the Civil Protection Department, is to give an overview on the planning and current initiatives of related developments in the context of the Maltese Islands and the strip of sea dividing the islands from Sicily. It will serve to provide thoughts on how to address existing and future needs. In particular, the seminar highlights the use of a top-end technology, consisting of an array of High Frequency (HF) radars, to monitor in real-time meteo-marine surface conditions.

The seminar is being held in conjunction with the 3rd Meeting of the CALYPSO project concerning an HF Radar Monitoring System and Response against Marine Oil Spills in the Malta Channel. The project is partly financed by the EU under the Operational Programme Italia-Malta 2007-2013. The CALYPSO project is led by the University of Malta under the co-ordination of Prof. Aldo Drago. It brings together three other partners from Malta – namely Transport Malta, Civil Protection Department and Armed Forces of Malta – and four partners from Sicily – ARPA Sicilia, IAMC-CNR Capo Granitola, Università degli Studi di Palermo and Università di Catania (CUTGANA). The consortium consists of research entities and also public entities with responsibilities for civil and environmental protection, surveillance, security and response to hazards.

The CALYPSO project targets to set up a permanent and fully operational HF radar observing system, capable of recording (in real-time with hourly updates) surface currents in the Malta Channel. The system consists of HF radar installations on the northern Maltese and southern Sicilian shores. The radars are expected to be installed in summer this year, and the whole system will be operational by end of 2012.

CALYPSO provides the competent authorities in Malta and Sicily with new technologies in routine marine observations and forecasting for improved response to marine hazards, better control of the transboundary maritime space and greater efficiency for security and safety at sea. Through the networking of national responsible entities, the project envisages the full exploitation of the HF radar system, and dedicates direct activities for the exchange of information, practices and the preparation of common protocols for collaborative surveillance and operational interventions in the case of accidents and emergencies between Maltese and Sicilian counterparts.

The meeting will be attended by leading partner scientists and engineers from the project as well as experts and stakeholders in maritime affairs.

The seminar will be addressed by the Hon. Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications, Dr. Austin Gatt, followed by keynote speeches and presentations by high profile experts from competent organisations.

Who Should Attend

Representatives from key stakeholders in the marine sector, particularly individuals holding key positions in public and private organisations / agencies / institutions / departments with marine-related activities.

More specifically the following categories are invited:

-   Representatives from key Ministries relevant to marine affairs.
-   National Representatives and Focal Points to the EC related to the marine sector
-   Governmental agencies, and authorities
-   Leading marine scientists and engineers
-   Representatives of the marine management community
-   Representatives of the marine industries and services sector

For more details about the CALYPSO project please go to www.capemalta.net/calypso.

For any further details kindly contact Prof. Aldo Drago (email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )