The Maritime Support Services (MSS) Operations Centre is a 24/7 control room located at EMSA’s headquarters. It comprises: computer stations for up to 6 operators at any one time; a large wall-mounted electronic display and; a support room with computers for meetings and emergency support. It is set up in such a way that MSS operators can, at all times, see the latest information for each of the systems on the video wall. This is particularly important, as they need to be able to quickly see any urgent information related to the systems or emergencies at the same time as carrying out their regular day-to-day work. In times of maritime emergencies, additional experts can be brought into the MSS support room in order to work closely with the operators if necessary. Also working in the centre (during normal working hours) are two operators who ensure the effective interface between the SafeSeaNet EU vessel traffic monitoring and information system and the THETIS port state control system.
In order to maintain a 24/7 service with at least 2 operators on duty at all times, it is necessary to have a total of 12 staff dedicated to the MSS. This allows for shifts, holidays, sickness and additional tasks that may need to be carried out from time to time. Having at least 2 operators on duty at all times ensures that:
The operators work on a rota basis that comprises 3 x 8 hour shifts (07:00-15:00, 15:00-23:00 and 23:00-07:00) for 365 days per year. They work with a full set of procedures which, given the regular growth in the requirements, need to be continually updated. In order to ensure that the procedures are followed correctly at all times, each operator works with a shift check list which ensures that, for every change of shift, the necessary basic tasks are carried out. Also, to support each change of shift, a handover document is completed so that the main information can be passed on efficiently. This is of particular importance in times of emergency, or when emergency-related exercises are underway. Emergency Monitoring and Response
In addition to its system monitoring and support role, the MSS is also EMSA’s coordination centre for maritime emergencies. It is the single point of contact via which Member States and the Commission can request and obtain support in case of an accident or incident at sea.
On an around-the-clock basis, the MSS operators monitor emergency-related systems in order to provide an early warning to key people so that they know when support may be needed. The information comes from Member States in the form of POLREPs (for pollution-related incidents) and SITREPs (for safety-related incidents), and also from external accident/incident monitoring systems and the 24/7 emergency telephone/fax/email system. When information on an emergency arrives, it can trigger some or all of the following responses:
The main day-to-day task of the MSS is the provision of support to: the SafeSeaNet EU vessel traffic monitoring and information system; the LRIT global ship tracking system and; the CleanSeaNet oil spill monitoring and vessel detection system. The work involves the following:
Administration of systems