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Jorge Fernández Díaz highlights Spain's extensive experience in the fight against irregular immigration, where it is among the leaders in the European Union

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Jorge Fernández Díaz pointed out that these facilities are at the cutting edge of innovation and technology, with the most advanced resources and equipment available for the Civil Guard's senior officers to effectively carry out their permanent command and control function over the different units of the force in matters related to maritime border surveillance.

The centre will be connected with the four regional centres in Valencia, Algeciras, Las Palmas and La Coruña and the Integrated Border Surveillance System (Spanish acronym: SIVE) stations, as well as the new European border surveillance system, as it has been designated a National Coordination Centre within EUROSUR.

The Minister for Home Affairs highlighted that Spain has become "a benchmark in the development of mechanisms and instruments of maritime surveillance to tackle different types of illicit acts, such as smuggling, drug trafficking, or more recently the serious problem of irregular immigration."

Jorge Fernández Díaz recalled that there have been many successful Spanish initiatives that have become a model for neighbouring countries, such as the development of the Maritime Service, the creation of the Fixed Wing Group in the Air Service, and the expansion of the SIVE with its 74 sensor stations deployed along the coast, thus acquiring an extensive capacity to boost early warning in controlling the sea.

The Minister for Home Affairs recalled that the number of irregular immigrants captured on our coasts has reduced considerably from 39,180 in 2006 to 3,804 in 2012, a fall of 90%. In addition, thanks to the capacity for preventive action, it has been possible to reduce the number of deaths at sea. Whereas in 2003, 108 people died trying to reach our coasts, in 2012 the figure, while still tragic, had fallen to only 36.

In his speech, Jorge Fernández Díaz added that the achievement of these results also involves other important instruments within the framework of an integrated migration policy. Among them, "we should highlight the fight against the mafias that traffic in people and cooperation with countries from which immigrants hail. We have collaboration agreements and a very high level of understanding with many of them, such as Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal."

The Centre for the Coordination of Coastal and Border Surveillance

The Centre for the Coordination of Coastal and Border Maritime Surveillance (Spanish acronym: CECORVIGMAR), was created as an advisory and coordination body of the Civil Guard's Joint Operational Command and a basic tool of the Ministry of Home Affairs for border surveillance at sea.

The centre carries out the following functions:

  • Coordinates actions at a national level that are the responsibility of the Civil Guard.
  • Is the point of contact with national and international bodies whose activities are related with the maritime environment within the responsibility of the Civil Guard.
  • Carries out an analysis of the relative risks to coastal and border maritime surveillance.
  • Organise the use of resources and specialities within the Civil Guard for coastal and border maritime surveillance in emergency situations, joint operations or situations that require swift decision-making.

This centre has been designed by FRONTEX, the European agency for coordinating border controls, as a national point of contact with the surveillance network of the EUROSUR project.

The National Coordination Centre for EUROSUR in Spain is made up of CECORVIGMAR acting as a point of contact with FRONTEX. It is also the reference centre in the area of these responsibilities at a national level.

CECORVIGMAR will not only receive and transmit news and orders relating to its daily operations, but will also have information and images available in real time of events in any location where it is providing a service or that may affect such a service, both in Spain and abroad. It will also be able to integrate information on international events in which the Civil Guard takes part.

At the same time, it may carry out a permanent and continuous monitoring of the operations under way. Images will be transmitted to it from the fixed or mobile units deployed in any scenario.

It will also be able to detect the geographical location of any patrol, vessel or in general, service personnel, and make connection with them as required through voice and data by radio, satellite or telephone.

This will provide it with a real command over the scene of action in line with the latest trends in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, thus making it easier to take correct and timely decisions in real time.

The technical resources will allow connection with the Integrated Border Surveillance System (SIVE), and with the Surveillance Centre on the Land Boarder of Ceuta and Melilla; location system for land, air and sea patrols of the Civil Guard (Spanish acronym: SAIR) and the Remote Identification system (Spanish acronym: AIS); the GC-ESA "Satellite Surveillance" project (MARISS); and the SEAHORSE secure voice and data exchange.

The new centre guarantees that the Directorate General of the Civil Guard has the capacity to direct the service and operations centrally in a coordinated fashion when required by operational or management conditions.

Spanish and international liaisons

In general, Spanish and international liaisons will not have an office within the centre. They will provide a service from there when coordinating an operation in which the organisation or institution represented participates with resources or it is considered necessary to improve coordination or support for the operation, even though the service may be provided in CECORVIGMAR by liaison officers from the National Police Force and the FRONTEX agency.

The liaison officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force, together with the Directorate General of the Civil Guard, will maintain their current quarters despite providing a service in CECORVIGMAR when their presence is required to carry out operations or exercises. By way of example, CECORVIGMAR is currently carrying out the "Indalo" and "Hera" operations.

Infrastructure of the new centre

The building is made up of three floors, two underground and one above, with high-level security. The two basement floors are designed for the administrative use for which the facility has been constructed, while all the installations and pipes necessary for its proper operation have been left outside this nucleus and surround it.

The ground floor is the site for the external equipment that guarantees operations, as well as providing access for the regular staff who work in the building and visits. Work on the construction has also included changing the layout of the Patio de Armas courtyard in the Directorate General of the Civil Guard and providing more appropriate access to the buildings around it.

The basements have an area of 1,864 m2 on each floor for administrative use. This area includes the operations room, which double height and a video wall 9.29 metres long by 3.48 metres high; a conference room with 83 seats, 6 speaker's seats and a lectern, and a twin cabin for simultaneous translation, and another cabin for control and handling of the systems located there.

There are meeting and rest areas to ensure the comfort required by the activities that will take place at the centre. To guarantee the continuous operation of these premises it has been provided with electrical power facilities and redundant heating and air conditioning, as well as facilities that reduce its energy dependence, such as thermal solar energy, photovoltaic solar energy and LED lighting.

For more information, contact the Civil Guard Press Office at 91 514 60 10.