Finnish Border Guard to chair the North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum
The Finnish Border Guard will serve as chair of the North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum (NACGF) in 2023. Commodore Tom Hanén of the Finnish Border Guard received the chairmanship of the forum from the Spanish Navy at the NACGF summit held in Cartagena on Thursday 20 October 2022. The Finnish Border Guard's one-year chairmanship will end in October 2023.
The objective of the North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum, which was established in 2007, is to develop cooperation and exchange of information between Member States' coast guard authorities in relation to maritime security and coast guard functions. The 19 members of the forum consist of coast guard authorities from the Baltic Sea region, Western Europe and North America. In addition, the EU maritime agencies Frontex, EMSA and EFCA participate as observers in the forum’s activities. The collaborative work of the forum is voluntary in nature and covers a wide range of coast guard functions; maritime security, drug smuggling, illegal entry, fisheries control, combating environmental damage, air and sea rescue, and technological matters related to coast guard functions.
The Finnish Border Guard has chosen autonomous and unmanned systems as the theme for its chairmanship. For years, Finland has been a global leader in autonomous shipping, both in terms of technological expertise and the development of international regulation. The number of remotely controlled and self-directed vessels is expected to increase significantly over the coming decades, which will also have a significant impact on the activities of coast guard authorities. At the same time, the development of autonomous and unmanned technologies creates new opportunities for authorities, which can utilise the rapidly developing systems in their own activities.
One of the most important events during the Finnish Border Guard’s chairmanship will be the NACGF meeting of experts to be held in Turku in April 2023. Participating in the meeting will be an estimated 100 experts from both the forum’s member countries and EU agencies. The annual GUARDEX map exercise will also be organised as part of the expert meeting. The scenario for this exercise will be built around autonomous shipping. The exercise will also focus on how coast guard authorities can utilise autonomous and unmanned technology in their own activities. In addition, this conversation-based map exercise will be supplemented with a simulator exercise carried out using the exceptionally high-quality maritime simulator environment at the Turku Aboa Mare Training Centre.
The chairmanship of the Finnish Border Guard extends until the NACGF summit in Helsinki in October 2023. The topics for this meeting will include the results of the forum’s working groups, the lessons learned from the GUARDEX map exercise, and matters related to the overall development of the forum. At the meeting of coast guard leaders, the Finnish Border Guard will hand over the NACGF chairmanship to the Swedish Coast Guard, which will chair the forum in 2024.