Life below water

The efficiency of the monitoring of sea areas has been improved in many ways to reduce the load caused by the Finnish Border Guard’s operations and improve monitoring.

The implementation of the RAVALU I–II project to modernise the Border Guard’s technical monitoring systems continued. The modernisation project involves a complete overhaul of the technical system for monitoring sea areas, including eco-stations at certain sensor sites (electricity production using solar and wind power), improvements in the coverage of technical monitoring and the quality of situation awareness, as well as the deployment of UAV monitoring technology. The modernisation will allow for comprehensive monitoring with less environmental impact than before, as well as timely and cost-effective prevention and response work.

The Offshore Patrol Vessel 2025 project to replace three offshore patrol vessels that have reached the end of their service lives with two new offshore patrol vessels is currently underway. The construction of the first vessel started in December 2023. The vessels will be delivered in 2025 and 2026. The project places a high priority on environmental values and the SDGs.

The Finnish Border Guard’s surveillance aircraft play a key role in the prevention of environmental damage. Surveillance flights can detect unauthorised emissions and discharges from vessels in the sea area. The number of detected oil spills has decreased throughout the 21st century, in particular due to comprehensive monitoring, an administrative oil discharge fee system, and the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport.

In addition to surveillance flights operated with the Finnish Border Guard’s fleet, environmental accidents and unauthorised discharges from vessels are monitored with the satellite monitoring system of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the EMSA’s RPAS service, and through surveillance flight cooperation with Sweden and Estonia. The technical challenges of maintaining the operating capacity of the Finnish Border Guard’s ageing fleet of Dornier aircraft have impacted readiness and the performance of surveillance missions. An agreement to procure new surveillance aircraft to replace the Dorniers will be confirmed with the selected supplier in early 2024. The new aircraft will enter service in 2026 and 2027.

The centralised storage of the environmental accident response equipment and the improvement of availability continued in 2023. Response equipment was transferred to new locations based on operational considerations, and the preparation of a warehouse service concept continued. The first-line readiness of coast guard stations was enhanced by placing first-line equipment at certain coast guard stations selected on operational grounds. The centralisation of storage and the development of the service concept will continue.

Exercises in responding to environmental accidents were continued in a comprehensive manner, supporting the development of competence. The environmental damage prevention expertise of the Finnish Border Guard and its maritime partners will be developed through MER1, MER2, MCAM and MCRO courses arranged by the Border and Coast Guard Academy and on international courses. Experts from the Headquarters of the Finnish Border Guard serve as trainers on courses arranged by the Finnish Border Guard and third parties in Finland and abroad.

The Finnish Border Guard participates in joint development projects in the Baltic Sea area under the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area (HELCOM) and the Copenhagen Agreement. Funding was secured for the IMAROS2 project in 2023. The Finnish Border Guard will participate in the project. The project will examine ways to recover low-sulphur fuels after spillages in cold conditions, for example.

The Finnish Border Guard implements hunting and fishing controls on land, at sea and in lakes. Inspections focus on hunting and fishing regulations applying to leisure activities and commercial hunting and fishing. The number of annual inspections remained steady in 2022 and 2023 (approximately 2,700 inspections per year related to hunting regulations and approximately 1,700 inspections per year related to fishing regulations). The Finnish Border Guard maintains the Fisheries Monitoring Centre in accordance with the applicable legislation (the EU regulation on a sanctions regime and control for the common fisheries policy).

Rajavartija ja metsästäjä keskustelevat partioauton ovella.

The Finnish Border Guard implements hunting and fishing controls.