Helga Vandenreyken, attaché with Continental Shelf (FPS Economy):
“With the oceanographic research vessel Belgica we carry out seven sounding campaigns at sea per year. Aboard the Belgica we have installed a multibeam, a specialised sounding device, which we use to chart the different sand banks. We examine the effects sand-extraction has on the level of the seabed. The results of the research allow us to intervene when necessary and to make sand-extraction more sustainable. The extracted sand and gravel are mainly used by the building trade and for coastal defence.”
Two general directorates of FPS Economy contribute to the efficient working of the Coast Guard.
Directorate-General Quality &Safety
Continental Shelf is authorised for the use and the extraction of mineral and other non-living resources in Belgium’s territorial waters, such as sand and gravel extraction. It also supervises the construction of telecommunication cables on the seabed.
The Control Division and the Regulation and Control Policy Division are responsible for the safety of offshore pipelines.
The General Directorate Energy is authorised for the Zeebrugge gas terminals and for placing electric cables and pipelines on the seabed. This directorate is also responsible for building and managing installations for the production of electricity out of water, tides or wind.