European Space Agency (ESA) & WOC Sign Agreement for Cooperation on Ocean Industry Engagement

10 March 2021

Word Ocean Council and ESA to Collaborate in Advancing Space-Based Systems and Data to Support the Ocean Sustainable Development

Last month, the (then) Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) Jan Wörner and the World Ocean Council (WOC) President and CEO Paul Holthus signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) for a partnership to advance support for ocean-related industry through space-based systems and data.

ESA aims to establish a dialogue with the maritime sector to better understand the requirements of businesses involved in the blue economy. The Agency is seeking to promote the application of existing space solutions to support the sustainable use of the ocean, and is proposing mechanisms to engage maritime players in ESA activities as representatives of the sector, for example through studies, demonstrations and tests of space applications or technologies for the maritime sector.

“This Memorandum of Collaboration is an excellent starting point for reinforcing the role, competence and presence of ESA in the global ocean community,” said former ESA Director General Jan Wörner. “Representing ESA’s support for the sustainable use of the ocean, particularly in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, it contributes to the realisation of space-driven solutions and reinforces ESA’s commitment to addressing the needs of the maritime sector.”

Through the MoC, ESA and WOC express their intention to identify ‘model users’ who could be available for consultation and knowledge exchange with ESA. Understanding the needs of the maritime sector will help the Agency plan its future programmes and activities, with the result being that ESA better addresses the ocean community. The ultimate aim is to promote topics of common interest and information on respective programmes and activities for their mutual interest.

ESA recently set up the Blue Worlds Task Force to increase awareness of how space assets – including space technology, systems and data – can support the blue economy and address a variety of challenges faced by the maritime sector. The MoC, which focuses on cooperation with the European Branch of the World Ocean Council, will be beneficial to both organisations, allowing exchange of expertise between the two and building up on or contributing to the exchanges held in the Task Force between representatives of ESA Member States and ESA experts.

The Society's 17th Annual General Meeting is to be held on Tuesday 20th April 2021 commencing at 7.30pm (BST) via online Zoom meeting, due to current Covid-19 restrictions.  Click here for further details.

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