Dear European Maritime Safety Agency,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting copies of documents relating to the use of drones by the EMSA. I should be grateful if you would provide me with copies of the following documents:

A copy of all reports held by EMSA on the evaluation of operations conducted by EMSA using drones for border control / monitoring of illegal immigration / maritime surveillance.

I should be grateful if you would reply to me by email and provide copies of documents in pdf format.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information or clarification.

Thank you for your assistance and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Burt

Documents, European Maritime Safety Agency

Dear Mr Burt,

Thank your interest in the activities of the European Maritime Safety
Agency (EMSA).

 

Please be informed that your application has been registered and will be
processed in line with the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of
the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to
documents.

 

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that, for applications in
the remit of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, the channel to be used is: EMSA
website/ Publications/ EMSA Documents/Documents Request Form, that will
ensure a prompt handling.

 

As you have addressed your request to [1][email address], there
was a delay in its registration as request for public access to documents.

 
Please also note that, in line with the provisions of Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001, “applications for access to a document shall be made in any
written form, including electronic form, in one of the languages referred
to in Article 314 of the EC Treaty and in a sufficiently precise manner to
enable the institution to identify the document.”

 

Considering the above legal basis, it is EMSA’s assessment that the
subject matter of your request is not defined “in a sufficiently precise
manner” as to enable the Agency to identify the document(s) being
requested.

 

As follows, please be so kind to:

o clarify what is meant by “all reports”: overall reports of cost
efficiency of the service, per operation, specific reports on flights,
etc.;
o add any other relevant references/information.

 

These clarifications will enable EMSA to understand which document(s) you
are seeking access to and the purpose of this request, to ensure that it
will be addressed properly, without unnecessarily overloading the team in
charge of the service.

 

Please note that the 15 working days for EMSA to reply will start counting
from the date of receipt of your clarification. However, please bear in
mind that, depending on your clarification and extent of your request, it
may lead to a reply by EMSA beyond the 15 working days, as due to the
holiday season and the current COVID-19 situation limiting access to
EMSA’s premises, there is a reduced capacity of the Agency to process
large requests. Thank you for your understanding.

 

Kind regards,

EMSA Document Access Coordinator

EMSA / Praça Europa 4 / 1249-206 Lisbon / Portugal

show quoted sections

Dear EMSA Document Access Coordinator,

Thank you for your message and for acknowledging receipt of my request for information.

You asked for clarification of the scope of my request.

My original request was for: 'A copy of all reports held by EMSA on the evaluation of operations conducted by EMSA using drones for border control / monitoring of illegal immigration / maritime surveillance'.

To be more specific, I should be grateful if you would provide me with:

- Reports evaluating overall programmes, rather than specific flights, and reviewing the overall effectiveness of drone operations including cost efficiency.

- Please note that I am only interested in programmes relating to drone operations for border control / monitoring of illegal immigration / maritime surveillance.

- Please provide reports prepared over the period 1 January 2017 – 13 August 2020: it is not necessary to provide me with information which is older than this.

Thank you for your assistance in dealing with this request and please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further clarification or information.

I will look forward to hearing from you in due course

Yours sincerely,

Peter Burt

Documents, European Maritime Safety Agency

Dear Mr Burt,

Once again, thank you for your interest in the activities of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and your reply below.

Please be informed that in line with the provisions of Article 7.3 of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to documents, EMSA extends the initial time limit by an additional 15 working days due to the fact that complete processing of your application was not possible for the below stated reasons:

- processing of your application involves consultation, identification, processing and potential redaction of large number of documents;
- EMSA is not the owner of several of the requested documents therefore consultations with third parties as per Article 4.4 are ongoing;
- due to the holiday season and the current COVID-19 situation limiting access to EMSA’s premises, there is a reduced capacity of the Agency to process large requests. Same issues we are encountering with regard our third parties counterparts' staff.

Thank you for your understanding.

Kind regards,
EMSA Document Access Coordinator

show quoted sections

Documents, European Maritime Safety Agency

9 Attachments

 

Dear Mr Burt,   

               

This is a reply to your application for access to documents as clarified
on the 13^th of August 2020 by EMSA whereby you request “documents which
contain the following information: “[…]

o Reports evaluating overall programmes, rather than specific flights,
and reviewing the overall effectiveness of drone operations including
cost efficiency.
o Please note that I am only interested in programmes relating to drone
operations for border control / monitoring of illegal immigration /
maritime surveillance.
o Please provide reports prepared over the period 1 January 2017 – 13
August 2020: it is not necessary to provide me with information which
is older than this.”

The Agency processed your application in line with the provisions of
Regulation (EC) No.1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council
regarding public access to documents.

 

EMSA identified the following documents (herewith attached) as falling
within the scope of your application:

o Enclosure No1: RPAS-USERGROUP-HR
o Enclosure No2: RPAS-USERGROUP-PT
o Enclosure No3: RPAS-USERGROUP-EFCA
o Enclosure No4: RPAS-USERGROUP-Denmark
o Enclosure No5: RPAS-USERGROUP-FRONTEX
o Enclosure No6: RPAS-USERGROUP-ICE
o Enclosure No7: Service Report RPAS Greece FRONTEX
o Enclosure No8: MAS ATLANTIC
o Enclosure No9: Operations OPV EFCA-RPAS-Sep-Nov-2019

 

In line with the provisions of Regulation (EC) No.1049/2001 a thorough
assessment was made in order to identify if the content of these documents
can be disclosed in full or partially. Please find below the outcome of
the analysis pertaining to the documents in the Enclosures.

 

The provisions of Article 4.1(b) of the Regulation foresee that access to
a document shall be refused where disclosure would undermine the
protection of the privacy and integrity of the individual, in particular
in accordance with Community legislation regarding the protection of
personal data. In case of personal data, the provisions of Regulation (EU)
2018/1725 shall apply. This Regulation protects “personal data” which
means any information relating to an identified or identifiable person.
Surnames and forenames constitute, in themselves, personal data and thus
fall within the scope of Article 4.1(b). Given that your application for
access to documents did not contain any express and legitimate
justifications or arguments substantiating the need to obtain the personal
data concerned, the conclusion is that all personal data in the documents
shall be protected and therefore not disclosed.

 

The provisions of Article 4.1(a) first indent of the Regulation foresee
that access shall be refused “where disclosure would undermine the
protection of […] the public interest as regards: public security […].”

In the context where content of some enclosures contains detailed
information related to reporting tools and methods used by national
administrations and law enforcement officials used to conduct border
control tasks and counter criminal activities and that their disclosure
would jeopardize the implementation of ongoing and future operations, and
thus facilitate irregular migration, trafficking in human beings and
terrorism as the effectiveness of law enforcement measures would be
significantly reduced, disclosure of such information would be tantamount
to disclosing the weaknesses and strengths of operations and pose a risk
to their security. Consequently, the course of ongoing and future similar
operations would be hampered by depriving the operations of any strategy
and element of surprise, ultimately defeating their purpose to counter and
prevent cross-border crime and unauthorized border crossings.

 

Furthermore, the non-disclosed parts refer to specifics of technical
equipment. Disclosing such information would be tantamount to disclosing
the exact type and capabilities of the equipment. This would open way for
abuse, as numbers and types of equipment. Releasing such information would
benefit terrorist organizations and criminal networks, enabling them to
change their modus operandi and consequently result in hampering the
course of ongoing and future similar operations. This would ultimately
obstruct the purpose of such operations: to counter and prevent
cross-border crime and unauthorized border crossings. In this light, the
disclosure of information regarding the technical equipment deployed would
undermine the protection of the public interest as regards public security
in the sense of Article 4.1(a) first indent of Regulation (EC) No
1049/2001.

 

The provisions of Article 4.2 of the Regulation foresee that access shall
be refused “where disclosure would undermine the protection of […]:
commercial interests of a natural or legal person, including intellectual
property […].” As such, information contained in the documents which
entails technical information, information relating to methodologies,
know-how, specific pricing and information carrying a commercial value or
relating to the execution of a service or of an action, falls under this
exception, given that the disclosure of such information to the general
public, including a potential competitor on the market, would undermine
the protection of the respective legal person’s expertise, strategy and
creativity and thus their commercial strength.

 

Note that the information contained in all documents in the Enclosures,
identified as falling under the above-mentioned exceptions has been
retracted as follows, and only the content not falling under any of the
exceptions of the Regulation is disclosed:

 

o Enclosure No.1 RPAS-USERGROUP-HR: non-disclosure of data that are
related to the public interest as per Article 4.1(a) first indent of
the EC Regulation 1049/2001;

 

o Enclosure No.2 RPAS-USERGROUP-PT: non-disclosure of data that are
related to the public interest as per Article 4.1(a) first indent of
the EC Regulation 1049/2001;

 

o Enclosure No.3 RPAS-USERGROUP-EFCA: non-disclosure of data that are
related to the public interest and commercial interest of a legal
person as per Articles 4.1(a) first indent and 4.2 of the EC
Regulation 1049/2001;

 

o Enclosure No.4 RPAS-USERGROUP-Denmark: non-disclosure of personal data
as per Article 4.1(b) (first slide);

 

o Enclosure No.5 RPAS-USERGROUP-FRONTEX: non-disclosure of data that are
related to the public interest and commercial interest as per Articles
4.1(a) first indent and 4.2 of the EC Regulation 1049/2001;

 

o Enclosure No.6 RPAS-USERGROUP-ICE: non-disclosure of personal data as
per Article 4.1(b) and data that are related to the public interest
and commercial interest as per Articles 4.1(a) first indent and 4.2 of
the EC Regulation 1049/2001;

 

o Enclosure No.7 Service Report RPAS Greece FRONTEX: non-disclosure of
personal data as per Article 4.1(b) and data that are related to the
public interest and commercial interest as per Articles 4.1(a) first
indent and 4.2 of the EC Regulation 1049/2001;

 

o Enclosure No.8 MAS ATLANTIC: non-disclosure of data that are related
to the public interest as per Article 4.1(a) first indent of the EC
Regulation 1049/2001;

 

o Enclosure No.9 Operations OPV EFCA-RPAS-Sep-Nov-2019: non-disclosure
of data that are related to the public interest as per Article 4.1(a)
first indent of the EC Regulation 1049/2001.

 

Furthermore, a separate assessment of the application for access to
documents was performed in order to assess if there is an overriding
public interest in disclosure that would justify non-application of the
exceptions in Article 4.1. With regards to this aspect, it was found that
there is no such interest at stake as to justify public disclosure
overriding the mentioned exceptions.

 

Note that, in line with Article 7(2) of Regulation (EC) No.1049/2001 of
the European Parliament and of the Council regarding public access to
documents, you may file a confirmatory application within 15 working days
of receiving this email.

I remain at your disposal for further clarifications.

 

Kind regards,

EMSA Document Access Coordinator

 

 

EMSA / Praça Europa 4 / 1249-206 Lisbon / Portugal

 

 

Dear EMSA,

Thank you very much for providing these documents and for your assistance in dealing with my request.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Burt