Maritime domain awareness

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Maritime domain awareness (MDA) is defined by the International Maritime Organization as the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment.[1] The maritime domain is defined as all areas and things of, on, under, relating to, adjacent to, or bordering on a sea, ocean, or other navigable waterway, including all maritime-related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, and vessels and other conveyances.

United States[edit]

In the United States, the Secretary of the Navy is the DoD Executive Agent for maritime domain awareness.[2]

For private ports, The Mariner Group's CommandBridge platform is the market leader in Maritime Domain Awareness Systems.


In Canada, the 2004 National Security Policy resulted in the establishment of Marine Security Operations Centers (MSOCs) responsible for supporting a national response to maritime security threat. The East Coast MSOC is in Halifax, the West Coast MSOC is in Victoria, and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway MSOC is in Niagara.[3]

European Union[edit]

The European Union took a decision in 2008 to improve the integration and interoperability of member states' maritime safety, security, border control, environmental protection, fisheries and law enforcement systems in order to create a Common Information Sharing Environment for the EU maritime domain.[4]


In the Philippines, the National Coast Watch System (NCWS) was originally designed to improve maritime domain awareness in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, but has been extended over the entire island country's territory.[5]

South Africa[edit]

In March 2012, the South African Navy announce the establishment of two MDA centers, one in Cape Town for the west coast and one in Durban to cover the east coast.[6]


The Narendra Modi government has established a National Maritime Authority (NMA) of India to ensure cohesive policy-making and effective coordination on coastal security among the multiple authorities dealing with maritime issues in the country. A slew of coastal security measures have been taken since 26/11, from a fledgling coastal radar network to state marine police stations and NMA. The 15 or more agencies involved, ranging from Navy, Coast Guard, customs, intelligence agencies and port authorities to the home and shipping ministries, state governments and fisheries departments, often work at cross-purposes. A full-time federal body like NMA is needed to clear the clutter. The National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) Project of India, an integrated intelligence grid to detect and tackle threats emanating from the sea in real-time has been established to generate a "common operational picture of activities at sea through an institutionalised mechanism for collecting, fusing and analysing information from technical and other sources like coastal surveillance network radars, space-based automatic identification systems, vessel traffic management systems, fishing vessel registration and fishermen biometric identity databases.[7]

India has coastal surveillance radar systems (CSRS) network with radar across India, Seychelles and Mauritius and Sri Lanka. As of January 2019, India is in advanced discussions with Myanmar to install these radars there. India has also offered these radars to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and Maldives.[8]


  2. ^ "Directives Division". Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Marine Security Operation Centres - Transport Canada". 2012-05-14. Archived from the original on 2013-01-06. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  4. ^ "Towards the integration of maritime surveillance: A common information sharing environment for the EU maritime domain" (PDF). COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES. 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2012-07-03.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Non-Traditional Threats and Maritime Domain Awareness in the Tri-Border Area of Southeast Asia The Coast Watch System of the Philippines" (PDF). Rand Corporation: iii. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  6. ^ "Navy to establish Maritime Awareness Centres". DefenceWeb. 2012-03-19. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  7. ^ "Apex maritime Authority for Coastal Security". TimesOfIndia. 2014-06-10. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  8. ^ Bagchi, Indrani (23 January 2019). "India to renew coastal radar offer during Maldives defence minister's visit". Retrieved 28 January 2019 – via The Economic Times.