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PH, US to explore expanded cooperation on the use of space for maritime domain awareness
PH, US to explore expanded cooperation on the use of space for maritime domain awareness
Nation
PH, US to explore expanded cooperation on the use of space for maritime domain awareness
by Karen Ow-Yong14 May 2024
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

MANILA – The Philippines and the U.S. recognized the potential for an expanded cooperation on the use of space for maritime domain awareness, as programs like the SeaVision of the U.S. Department of Transportation, can help monitor and document vessels in the territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EZZ) of the country.

This is after the first U.S.-Philippines Space Dialogue was held in Washington, D.C. last May 2, 2024, with the aim of strengthening cooperation ang advancing bilateral exchanges in civil space matters, including the use of space for maritime domain awareness and space situational awareness.

According to a joint statement released by U.S. State Department, this includes the use of space-based Earth observation data for a wide variety of socio-economic applications.

The statement further mentioned that “programs such as the SeaVision, can help monitor and document vessels in the Philippine’s territorial waters and EZZ, ensure the safety of mariners at sea, monitor and help protect the environment, and help combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.”

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In an initial background on SeaVision provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), it mentions that the program is a “web-based maritime situational awareness tool that enables users to view and share a broad array of maritime information to improve maritime operations.”

DFA added that SeaVision uses satellite imagery, transponders and infrared to track ships round the clock, providing near real-time and historical information on vessel positions and details, i.e., owner, operator, port visit history and others.

The U.S. has been providing free access to the system since 2021, which is presently being used by the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the National Coast Watch Center, the DFA stated.

Both countries highlighted efforts to expand the provision of satellite-enabled broadband internet services to remote and underserved areas of the Philippines, by leveraging U.S. commercial low-earth orbit communication satellites, such as the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) initiative in cooperation with the USAID BEACON.

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Both sides also agreed that Earth observation is a priority area for bilateral cooperation, as programs that use satellites to better forecast weather patterns; support agricultural and infrastructure planning; monitor and combat climate change and pollution; disaster preparedness and response; improvement of natural resource use; and vital telecommunications services, were discussed.

At the same time, both countries agreed to work together to expand bilateral exchange and training programs on the use of Earth observation satellite data, development of space applications and technologies and other space science and skills, including fellowships, scholarships and internship programs, such as the launch of Fulbright-PhilSA space science scholarships, to enhance exchanges under that agreement.

“The two sides agreed to explore collaborative education and capacity building efforts through PhilSA’s Advanced Degrees for Accelerating Strategic Space R&D and Applications (AD ASTRA) scholarship program, NASA’s DEVELOP and other programs, and U.S. State Department exchange and speaker programs,” the joint statement read.

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