Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

HELCOM’s ship data used for planning the Baltic Sea

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​HELCOM’s vast data on ships’ movements in the Baltic Sea are analysed to support the 2-year maritime spatial planning project Baltic SCOPE having its kick-off today in Riga, Latvia. HELCOM Automatic Identification System (AIS) network has monitored and compiled data on ships without interruption since 2005. Via HELCOM’s work, the project, led by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, can tap into this spatial information on shipping, a key activity in the Baltic. The cleaning and restructuring of the huge raw AIS data covering the period 2005-2014 has already been undertaken by HELCOM Secretariat. Also the first versions of traffic density maps have been prepared for the case study areas – one in the Baltic Sea southwest and the other between Estonia, Latvia and Sweden. The HELCOM Secretariat will also prepare a publication drawing together lesson learnt on the use of AIS and other data in maritime spatial planning of the Baltic Sea, in order to ease the future work in other initiatives. Being a regional information hub, HELCOM also possesses other and up to date spatial information for planning at sea such as on marine protected , in a new database to be open for public in the end of November, or maps on the distribution of endangered species and habitats listed in the HELCOM publications.  One example of upcoming HELCOM products of likely interest for MSP purposes is the Baltic-wide dataset of fishing vessel movements, compiled in cooperation with ICES.  The 2-year Baltic SCOPE project focuses on planning various marine-based activities such as shipping, fishing, offshore wind farming, and protected areas. The project plans to deliver a set of generic good practices, methods and results which will be filtered into the Baltic MSP process fostered by the HELCOM-VASAB MSP .  Maritime spatial planning, an essential instrument for efficient, ecosystem-based management of maritime activities, is also a horizontal action of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea region jointly led by HELCOM and VASAB.  * * *Note for editorsSince 2005, the Baltic region has had a system in place for gathering signals from all the Automatic Identification System (AIS) devices on ships – the HELCOM AIS network. This network provides real-time surveillance and statistics of the movement of ships, and is administered by the HELCOM AIS , meeting annually since 2002. E-navigation uses such information to create a second generation of electronic services for enhanced safety and environmental performance. The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. * * * For more information, please contact:Hermanni BackerProfessional Secretary for Maritime and ResponseHELCOMTel:  +358 46 8509199Skype: helcom02E-mail: hermanni.backer(at) ​Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)

HELCOM’s vast data on tracking ships’ movements in the Baltic Sea are analysed to support the 2-year maritime spatial planning project Baltic SCOPE having its kick-off event today in Riga, Latvia.