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WDS 2024: Towards real consideration of maritime safety issues?.

The maritime sector, expansive and crucial, plays a vital role in managing major critical infrastructures and global trade routes. During his recent speech at the World Defense Show 2024, Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo, Chairman of Leonardo, highlighted the challenges and innovative solutions necessary to safeguard national security and the global economy.
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Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo giving his speech in Riyadh. (Picture source: WDS)

Navigating the maritime sector involves managing a complex environment that spans open waters, enclosed seas, and navigable rivers, extending to depths often unexplored. This sector encompasses a variety of man-made structures and natural entities, both above and below water.

At the World Defense Show, Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo described the maritime sector as one of the least understood yet most intricate global environments, possibly surpassing even outer space in complexity. The sector has seen significant technological advancements in recent years, becoming a hub for crucial infrastructures.

Pontecorvo detailed critical underwater infrastructures, including over 550 submarine cables that handle 97% of global internet traffic and extensive seabed pipelines transporting oil and gas. These infrastructures, along with desalination plants, ports, and energy facilities, face vulnerabilities, as recent disruptions in the Baltic have shown.

Moreover, the maritime sector serves as a critical conduit for global commerce, handling 80% of worldwide trade through a vast fleet of vessels, making it essential to the functioning of global supply chains. Recent events, such as the Covid pandemic's impact on port operations and geopolitical tensions affecting shipping routes, underscore its role in global economic stability.

Leonardo offers a range of solutions and platforms based on its expertise across multiple domains to enhance maritime domain awareness. This involves advanced sensors, data fusion, analytics, and user-centric information presentation technologies.

Command and control systems are central to maritime operations, integrating data from a myriad of sources to facilitate timely and effective decision-making. This integration requires robust and secure communication channels, adapted to various environmental conditions, and advanced data processing capabilities to predict logistical parameters.

To maintain a competitive edge and authoritative stance in the maritime sector, continuous innovation in communication and operational strategies is crucial. Leonardo is at the forefront, enhancing its technologies and systems for better data integration and decision-making processes.

In conclusion, managing the vast maritime sector requires a coordinated approach among a diverse group of stakeholders, driven by ongoing innovation in technology and operational strategies. Pontecorvo emphasizes that effective management and coordination are achieved through innovative, integrated solutions across all involved domains.

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