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Stopover in Lisbon for the 6th national "Maritime Challenges and Strategies" session

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne

On Wednesday 30 June, listeners to 6e IHEDN's national session on "Maritime issues and strategies" headed for Lisbon, "the antechamber to Europe's porter's lodge".[1].

From potron minet on Thursday 1er July, the auditors were at the Institut Hydrographique. Its director, Rear Admiral Ventura Soares, gave them an overview of the Institute's wide-ranging remit, in keeping with its motto: "Knowing the sea so that it can be used by everyone".

[1] By Olivier Frébourg Remember Lisbon, 2008

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
Rear-admiral Ventura Soares welcomes listeners to the Institut hydrographique

They were then able to attend a conference-presentation by MAOC-N (Maritime Analysis and Operation Center-Narcotics), José Ferreira (Executive Director) and Lieutenant-Commander Cornier.

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
José Ferreira tells listeners about the challenges faced by MAOC-N

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© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
Vice-admiral Coelho Cândido explains maritime safety and security issues to listeners

Vice-Admiral Coelho Cândido, Director General of the Maritime Authority, then explained to the audience Portugal's major maritime safety challenges and the inter-ministerial organisation in place to deal with the risks and threats at sea.

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
The session at the Hydrographic Institute with Rear Admiral Ventura Soares

Just a few streets away from the Institut Hydrographique is the Dos Santos Palace, the headquarters of the French Embassy in Portugal. Ambassador Florence Mangin welcomed the IHEDN delegation and shared with them the major challenges of bilateral relations, particularly in the context of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union. In this palace steeped in history, the audience was able to appreciate the very close, even 'intimate', relationship that exists between Portugal and France on major defence and security issues, particularly for Europe and in the maritime sphere.

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
H.E. Florence Mangin explains to listeners the close ties between Portugal and France when it comes to defence and security issues.

The lunch that followed in the gardens of the embassy gave listeners the opportunity to meet various players in Franco-Portuguese life. But the break was short-lived, as in the early afternoon, the participants went to the Institute of National Defence, the Portuguese counterpart of the IHEDN. In her welcome address, Professor Dr Maria Helena Chaves Carreiras reminded them of the common identity shared by IDN and IHEDN. She expressed the hope that exchanges and visits between the two institutes would be stepped up in order to increase their joint reflection on major defence and security issues.

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
Professor Dr Maria Helena Chaves Carreiras welcomes auditors to the Institute of National Defence (IDN)

Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires, deputy director of the Directorate General for National Defence Policy, then explained to the audience the importance of the Atlantic Centre as a forum for joint reflection on the rapidly changing challenges facing the Atlantic area. The Centre is a forum for dialogue and a centre for capacity building aimed at developing a framework for peace and security at regional and Atlantic level. In an integrated approach, it aims to identify and propose concrete avenues for collaboration, as well as shared responses to current and future challenges.

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires explaining the importance of the Atlantic Centre

Ms Conceição Santos, Deputy Director General for Maritime Policy, then presented Portugal's National Maritime Strategy (2021-2030) to the audience.

Finally, Nelson Marques, Head of the Vessel Traffic Control Systems Division of Natural Resources, Maritime Safety and Services (DGRM) presented maritime safety in three major areas: preventing, acting on and responding to maritime incidents by implementing and adopting measures or operations to effectively ensure the safety and security of ships, the environment and coastal and river States.

So it was after a very studious day that the audience returned to the embassy for a guided tour of this magnificent Santos palace, built in 1510 and restored over the centuries, with its magnificent frescoes and azulejos.

At the end of the visit, Préfet Denis Conus, Deputy Director of the IHEDN, presented the diploma to one of their auditors, who had been unable to receive it at the same time as his fellow auditors because he was a COVID contact.

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
David Guyot receives his diploma from Prefect Denis Conus, Deputy Director of IHEDN

The day ended with the traditional Gallic feast in the session uniform.

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
Auditors and their supervisors in their session colours

The next morning, it was an early wake-up call to the Lisbon naval base, where listeners were welcomed by Rear Admiral Valentim José Pires Antunes Rodrigues, Deputy Commander of the Maritime Fleet. Rear-Admiral Aníbal Soares Ribeiro, Head of Operations, then gave a presentation on the Portuguese Navy's missions and operational activities, followed by the Captain (Navy), Head of Operations HQ.

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
Rear-Admiral Aníbal Soares Ribeiro presents the Portuguese Navy to the audience

After the theory, the listeners were plunged into the real world with a visit to the particularly high-performance simulators for ship handling and operations. They were impressed by the level of technology and realism of these tools, which are essential for training crews at the lowest possible cost and bringing them up to the level of excellence required for operations at sea. 

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
Listeners on the virtual bridge of a Portuguese frigate
© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
Auditors at the heart of the Operations HQ
© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne

During lunch, hosted by Rear-Admiral Valentim José Pires Antunes Rodrigues in the magnificent gardens of the palace, the audience was able to continue the debates launched during the various conferences and realise just how similar Portuguese and French strategic visions can be.

 

The audience then returned to the IDN for a discussion with Tiago Pitta e Cunha, Executive Director of the Oczano Azul Foundation, on the blue economy of the future in the context of the European Union.

Finally, to bring this European mission to a close, the auditors visited the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) where they were welcomed by Ms Radina Russeva, policy advisor. There they learned about the agency and its missions. But it was the support and service centre in particular that impressed them with the high level of technology of the systems implemented to provide Member States with outstanding services in the field of maritime safety. 

© Pierremmanuel PROUX / IHEDN © 6e ESM à Lisbonne
Marc Journel, a former officer with the French maritime patrol, explains to the audience the services provided by EMSA to the Member States.

But everything has an end! So it was with a head full of strong emotions and the certainty that Portugal and France had many common interests in terms of defence and security that the listeners headed for the airport and took off for France.