The coast guard keeps an eye on the sea

Coast guard


  • 14.07.15

    The Secretary of State for the North Sea, Bart Tommelein, visited the oceanographic vessel RV (Research Vessel) Belgica, on the 10th of July 2015. He wanted to see how oceanographic research is conducted during a one day trip.

    The Federal Science Policy Office is the owner of RV Belgica. The ship is available for scientists who wish to carry out marine scientific research. Our coastguard partner the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences (RBINS)' OD Nature is responsible for the ship's budget, scientific equipment and the planning of scientific campaigns. They work together with another coastguard partner, the ministry of Defense, which provides the crew, operational support and a mooring in the home port of Zeebrugge.

    The RV Belgica is at sea for up to two hundred days a year and different teams work on it day and night, both national and international. The ship is a 50.9 metre long floating laboratory and monitors the quality of the North Sea by constantly collecting all kinds of data about the biological, chemical, physical, geological and hydrodynamic processes which occur.The RV Belgica has watched over the North Sea nonstop for 30 years, however, after 30 years a new research ship is needed to keep the North Sea protected. More information: How Big is Belgica.


  • 09.07.15

    Go to your local police station or the police station where the vessel was stolen to report the theft as soon as possible. Bring all the documents that may prove useful: invoices, proof of insurance, proof of property and copies of shipping documents. Also mention anything that may provide a lead: information on equipment, means of communication on board, identity of the passengers, intended route, ports of call and final destination.

  • 07.07.15

    Check the colour of the flag on the life guards' post.
    A green flag means that you can go swimming in all safety. When you see a yellow flag, you are allowed to go swimming, but you should bear in mind that it can be dangerous.  Therefore it is forbidden to take rubber boats, rubber rings or other inflatable or floating objects with you in the water. A red flag signifies that it is strictly forbidden to swim.
    Furthermore, you should follow the life guards'instructions at all times.

    Surfers have their own green (surfing is allowed) and red (surfing is forbidden) flag, easy to recognize by the white logo in the shape of a surfboard.

    Keep in mind that it is forbidden to swim in unguarded areas! These areas are indicated by a prohibition sign. Going swimming nearby breakwaters and moles can be very dangerous because of the strong currents and whirlpools.
    Find the different flags and signs here.

  • 29.06.15

    Our coast guard partner Coastal Divison has been working hard on a brand new embankment in Wenduine for the past nine months. 

    The new embankment is safer, wider and more attractive. The town of Wenduine is now fully protected against superstorms as foreseen in the Masterplan Coastal safety.
    See the website of Coastal Division for a film.

  • 17.04.15
    Avion d'observation

    Our coast guard partner Federal Science Policy has a surveillance aircraft for detecting illegal oil spills on the North Sea. Over the years, a decreasing trend in operational oil spills is observed. The figures for 2014 confirm this. On the other hand, the figures show that the number of operational spills of other harmful substances are increasing since a couple of years.
    More information on op

  • 16.04.15

    As of March 27th 2015, the European Coast Guard Functions Forum (EUCGFF) office in Brussels is open. It is housed in the offices of Frontex.

    The EUCGFF initiative was launched in 2009 with the aim to exchange information, establish networks and to streamline coast guard initiatives among the member states, including Belgium. The forum has a rotating charimanship and once a year there is a plenary conference.

    Currently the focus is on the ongoing European Coast Guard Academies, Institutions, and Training Centres EU NETwork project (ECGFA), which seeks to establish a network to connect academies providing training for coast guard functions in Europe.

    The next annual plenary conference will be held in September 2015 in Finland, the current chair.

    More information:  

  • 13.04.15

    From March 30th until April 2nd the expert meeting of the North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum took place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Belgium was respresented by coast guard partners Fleet, Customs, federal Police and FPS Public Health (Directorate - general Environment).

    Twenty member states take part in the NACGF, and the main goal is to facilitate cooperation and to exchange information on best practices and experiences. To that purpose, there are different working groups focusing on topics such as environmenal response, fishery, drug traficking, Search and REscue (SAR) etc. Each year, in spring, there is an expert meeting followed by a plenary meeting in autumn, which all heads of delegations attend.

  • 23.02.15

    Our coast guard partner Shipping Assistance Division is recruiting a manager for the network of radar masts. Apply before March 15th. More information on

  • 18.02.15

    February 13th, there was an information session for the coast guard partners on the salvage of the Baltic Ace wreck.The project team working on the salvage presented their action plan. Preparations for hoisting the wreck are ongoing and April 1st will mark the start of the actual salvage activities. By the end of 2015 the wreck should be completely removed.

  • 16.02.15
    Workshop Contigency Plan for the North Sea

    February 11th, a workshop on the renewed Contingency Plan for the North Sea took place in the naval base in Zeebrugge on the initiative of the governor of West-Flanders province. In total there were 120 participants, amongst whom the majority of our coast guard partners. The structure and organization of the prinicpal actors in the contingency plan were clarified and a panel discussion at the end of the day provided the audience with the opportunity to ask questions and to state their observations.