PERSEUS: Protection of European seas and borders through the intelligent use of surveillance

Demonstrator project jointly-funded by the European Commission in the 7th Framework Program, in the Security Unit.

The objective of PERSEUS is the protection of European seas and the control of relative frontiers for supporting some missions identified by Frontex/EUROSUR (European border surveillance system), with particular reference to illegal immigration and drugs trafficking.

The aim of the project is to go beyond the expectation of EUROSUR in 2013, offering a large-scale demonstration of a System of Sea Surveillance Systems in Europe, integrating the national systems that already exist and improving them with innovative functions.

In particular, PERSEUS supports the following objectives:

  • new functions for the National Coordination Centers (NCC), Frontex and EMSA, including the trans-national exchange of information, procedures and mechanisms regarding sea traffic, with consequent support for the creation of a common environment for information sharing
  • generation and exchange of the Common Situation Picture
  • improvement in identifying non-cooperative or suspicious boats and low-flying aircraft
  • improvement in identifying and tracking watercraft acting abnormally.

In 2013-2014, PERSEUS will demonstrate the integration of the National Coordination Centers in 5 exercises, grouped together in 2 campaigns (East and West), which will implement the drug trafficking and illegal immigration missions, with the aim of creating constant controls from coastal areas to the high seas.

Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece will be involved in the exercises.


A shared environment for exchanging information among European countries has been realized in PERSEUS, which is based on a common data model, defined by looking at the various models, which are often proprietary and currently used by the countries involved. The data model proposed by the Frontex Big Pilot Project has also been considered and suitably expanded. The data model was later implemented via SOA.

The data model (for the exchange of events) is currently in use in the demonstrators for the East campaign, for exchanging information between the Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian NCC. The data model will be verified in the West campaign in 2014, which will also involve Greece.

In addition to a common data model, the shared environment for exchanging information among European countries includes the definition of access and information exchange policies. The relative legal and technical implications have been analyzed in the project, with recommendation of the use of XACML (eXtensible Access Control Markup Language). XACML is the result of OASIS standardization work and is now the most accepted solution for controlling access in distributed environments. Also, the project has produced a report on the legal implications concerning management of personal data within the realm of sea surveillance.

The control system of the Italian relating to the Italian Navy has been integrated into PERSEUS, with the aim of exchanging information with the other European countries involved in the demonstrations of the project. The Italian Coast Guard's control system will also be integrated into the PERSEUS Systems System in the near future.