The Spanish Navy organized a Naval Forum on the Importance of the Seabed.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

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The Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy (AJEMA) during his welcoming speech
The Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy (AJEMA) during his welcoming speech
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The Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy (AJEMA) during his welcoming speech
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The AJEMA with the Forum panelists.
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The panelists of the Forum.
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The Forum was held at the Spanish Navy’s Conference Hall
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The Forum was held at the Spanish Navy’s Conference Hall

Aware of the high strategic value in the limitation of maritime areas, and that the exploitation of the seabed has increased the number of disputes between nations, the Spanish Navy has organized a Naval Forum entitled "The seabed, a new area of interest and dispute".

The Forum was chaired by the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy, Admiral General Antonio Piñeiro and was part of the series of events in the field of Security and Defense scheduled by this Ministry of Defense on the occasion of the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union held by Spain during the second half of 2023.

The purpose of this Forum was to advance in the measures to guarantee the protection and security of the seabed and the critical underwater infrastructures, highlighting the importance they have for the prosperity of Spain and the welfare of its people.

The Forum consisted of two panels. The first one addressed the importance of the seabed from different perspectives: international legality, scientific and business.

The representative of Spain in the “International Seabed Authority” –an autonomous international organization based in Jamaica that organizes and monitors the activities of exploration of resources in the seabed outside the limits of national jurisdiction– Mr. Diego Bermejo Romero de Terreros, provided the regulatory framework for the exploitation of resources in the Area and expanded on the dimension of this activity at global level.

The renowned research expert of the University of Copenhagen in global governance, the oceans and maritime security, Professor Christian Bueger, who drafted the new EU Maritime Security Strategy document, explained the global governance of the seabed and the threats to the security of marine infrastructures, and advanced ideas on possible solutions.

To close the first panel, the topic dealt with the most critical underwater infrastructures today: the submarine cables that carry 99% of the world's Internet traffic. Miguel Sánchez, Global Director of Security and Intelligence at Telefónica, a Spanish Communications Company operating in the submarine cable sector, explained how this critical infrastructure is operated and how the public sector intends to guarantee its protection.

The second panel highlighted the role of three important navies in the protection of national interests and compliance with international law, in relation to the seabed in general, and critical underwater infrastructures in particular.

In this respect, the Spanish viewpoint was presented by the Fleet Commander, Admiral Diaz del Rio. The standpoint of the French Navy was presented by Rear Admiral Lavault, “Seabed Warfare Commander”, who explained the main lines of the "Stratégie Ministérielle de Maîtrise des Fonds Marins", enacted in February 2022. The Italian Navy was represented by Rear Admiral Lacerenza, Commander of Submarines, who explained his stance and his idea of presenting to the United Nations an initiative intended to regulate the "underwater domain", in order to develop an "Underwater UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)".


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