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Workshop in Karlskrona, Sweden 26th – 28th April 2022: Increasing situation awareness of Coast and Border Guards to prevent illegal activities

Deliverable 2.2 WORKSHOP 02:  

Based on WORKSHOP 2 REPORT – Lead Author: Munster Technology University; Contributors: LAU  

The AIARC consortium visiting the national naval museum located on Stumholmen island, in Karlskrona.

The AI-ARC  “Artificial  Intelligence  based Virtual Control Room for the Arctic” project’s main objective is to create   an   innovative   and   user-friendly   AI   based   platform,   the   Virtual  Control  Room  (VCR),  that has  the  power  to  greatly  improve  maritime    situational    awareness,    decision-making,    communication,    available   rescue   resources,   and   thus   the   safety   of   all   maritime   actors,   particularly   in   the   Arctic   Sea. 

Workshop 02: Increasing situational awareness of Coast and Border Guards to prevent illegal activities was a two and a half-day workshop event that took place in Karlskrona, Sweden from the 26th – 28th of April 2022. It was co-organised by three AI-ARC project partners: Munster Technology University,  (Ireland), Laurea University of Applied  Sciences,  (Finland), and the  Swedish Coast Guard.  

The opening session served as an introduction to the workshop and provided an overview of the project to VIP guests from the SCG and the external advisory board.  Isto Mattila, Project coordinator of the AI-ARC Project and Director of R&D at Laurea University of Applied Sciences, welcomed all consortium partners and VIP guests to Workshop 2.  His presentation provided an overview of the project and informed attendees that word about the AI-ARC project is growing with increasing external interest   from prominent European organisations including the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA).      

The Swedish Coast Guard is a key consortium partner in the AI-ARC project and in her presentation, Director Therese Mattsson emphasised the important role that the Swedish Coast guard (SCG) plays in providing support to maritime authorities in the Baltic Sea. She outlined the daily roles and responsibilities of the SCG in addition to their facilities, system capabilities and assets which can operate in Arctic weather.   Timo Hellenberg and Professor Pekka Visuri (Hellenberg International) presented on the findings of their investigation into the Arctic Sea hijacking Incident which occurred in 2009 in the Baltic Sea. The Arctic Sea Incident served as a useful case study to demonstrate the challenges involved for Law enforcement agencies and CGs in identifying smuggling and other illegal activities.  Lastly, Dr. Adrian Hoppe (Fraunhofer) presented an overview of the VCR Display and the Digital Map Table software system. This system offers the AI-ARC a 2D and 3D solution for a shared maritime situational awareness picture.   

For the remainder of the workshop, participants engaged in small working groups, each consisting  of  Law  Enforcement  and  Coast  Guard  representatives,  to  address key issues relating to improving situational awareness and tackling illegal maritime activities in the Baltic Sea and Arctic/High North regions. The results of the group work sessions during the Karlskrona workshop have created a number of action points for the task leaders in WP3 including the integration of workshop outputs into the ongoing technical tasks, decisions surrounding the purchasing and storage of data, and the selection of use cases for the live demonstrations that are all due to take place in 2023.The latter task will involve detailed planning and coordination between WP2 and WP3 leaders in  addition  to  the  CG  partners who  will  host  the  demos.   

The successful completion of the AI-ARC Workshop 2 in Karlskrona served as a key project milestone (MS7). The workshop was an ideal opportunity for project partners to refine and clarify information surrounding the technical development of the project. The Karlskrona workshop enabled face-to-face discussions on a number of key issues relating to the project’s progression. As a result of these productive interactions, partner engagement has stepped up in intensity and will continue online.  

Finally, it is worthy highlighting that for many of the project partners, Workshop 2 in  Karlskrona, Sweden was the first opportunity that consortium members had for a face-to-face meeting owing  to  previous  travel  restrictions  because  of  the  Covid-19  global  pandemic.  Therefore, it can be concluded that the workshop was a valuable opportunity for participants to make important networking connections with other project partners in addition to providing fruitful information outputs for task leaders and contributing to the ongoing progression of the AI-ARC project.    

The next face-to-face consortium meeting is in the early stages of being planned for later this year (November 2022) in Germany.  Regular consortium meetings in person will assist  with  ensuring  that  the  project’s  momentum  continues  on  track  and  consortium  partners  keep  moving forward with the work. 

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Workshop 1 – D2.1 17th of February 2022

Based on WORKSHOP 1 REPORT – Lead Author: Hellenberg International (HI); Contributors: LAU, MTU

The launch of AI-ARC Workshop 1 – ‘Arctic SAR Operations’ on the 17th of February 2022, officially commenced project activities for Task 2.1 – ‘Review of Crisis Coordination and Response Arrangements in the European Arctic and High North’.

The AI-ARC (Artificial Intelligence based Virtual Control Room for the Arctic) project Workshop (1) was organised as a one-day webinar on MS Teams on the 17th of February 2022. The aim of the Workshop was to assess and compare Arctic and High North crisis management and co-operation arrangements in the context of intergovernmental relations. It aimed to identify the areas of cross-border risks and needs to improve the cross-border, cross-sectoral and multi-level cooperation.

The Workshop was arranged by Hellenberg International (task leader on T2.1) together with the Laurea University of Applied Sciences (LAU), Finland and the National Defence Foundation of Lithuania. As Work Package (WP2) leader, Munster Technological University (MTU), Ireland, also contributed to this workshop by moderating the panel sessions, with the European Organisation for Security (EOS), Belgium, overseeing the dissemination and communication activities.

Originally, the workshop was intended to be held in Rovaniemi Finland, as an in-person three-day event. However, due to the global pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding travel restrictions, the decision was taken to host the workshop online instead.

The workshop consisted of three panel sessions with presentations from project partners, coast guard end users, diplomats, policy officers and stakeholders.

Session 1 “Arctic challenges in the Intergovernmental Context” examined the latest developments of Arctic crisis coordination and other intergovernmental decision-making arrangements. It reviewed the EU´s Arctic crisis management policy and derived lessons for the international civil security cooperation in the Arctic and the High North.

Session 2: “Operational challenges in the Arctic Search and Rescue” looked at the tactical-operational challenges related to search and rescue missions in the Arctic and High North. This included the identification of areas for cross-border risks and the needs for cross-border, cross-sectoral and multilevel cooperation in the Arctic and High North region.

Session 3: “The Concluding session” covered issues of “Cooperation between industry and science” and “Crisis Coordination and Response Arrangements, before wrapping up with a final Q&A session and concluding remarks from the organisers”.

To summarise, Workshop 1 was an official start to the AI-ARC WP2 Task 2.1 project activities, including planning and implementation. Many of the workshop presentations highlighted key challenges and actions that the AI-ARC project should seek to address in order to fulfil the project Objectives and KPIs.

Workshop 1 was also an important AI-ARC event for project dissemination. During the workshop, EOS (Belgium) posted live updates on AI-ARC’s social media accounts including LinkedIn and Twitter. The high level of dissemination activities served as a watershed for the project, prior to Workshop 2 in Karlskrona held in April 2022.

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