Marine Control and Surveillance


The objective of the National Strategy for Maritime Control and Surveillance (ENCVM) is to assist with follow-up and monitoring of activities that affect conservation and use of Costa Rican marine resources and spaces. The purpose is to provide the country with a cutting-edge technology system that includes radars and detection devices for Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS).

Cocos Island Radar
 Cocos Island Radar

As part of the first phase of strategy implementation, during 2015 a group of public and private institutions have collaborated in installation of radar in Cocos Island National Park. The radar installation involves construction of a 30-meter tower and a system of electrical connectivity that provides energy to the radar 24 hours a day.

As a result of four years of interinstitutional work between the government and the private sector, the first marine radar was installed in Cocos Island National Park in 2016.

During 2017, Phase II of the project began.

Achievements 2016–2017

  • Training of staff from the Cocos Marine Conservation Area (ACMC), National Coast Guard Service, and Civil Aviation to operate the radar system and maintain it.
  • Development and approval of interinstitutional protocols about information transfer, maintenance and use of equipment, and vigilance against illegal environmental activities.
  • Signing of an agreement between the Ministry of Public Security and Civil Aviation through which the latter pays form a intenance of the Cocos Island radar.
  • Implement corrective measures for failures in the energy source of the surveillance center.
  • Review of the agreement related to the Cocos Island radar and the degrees of compliance.
  • Approval of the procedure for signing the Addendum to the Cooperation Framework Agreement between the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Ministry of Public Security and the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, signed June 8, 2013.

The radar generates important data that allow to reinforce controls on activities such as illegal fishing, drug trafficking and, more recently, human trafficking.

Currently, the radar is in operation and the data is processed in Isla del Coco and replicated in the radar center of the National Coast Guard Service. This 2018 is working on the implementation of operational protocols for the use of radars and on coordinating the technical training of maintenance of radar systems.

AMM Cabo Blanco Radars
AMM Cabo Blanco Radars

The ACRXS will be donating two radars to be located in Cabo Blanco. In March 2018, the inter-institutional committee made the decision to award ICE the infrastructure project for the start-up of the two radars and to Cambridge International Systems the installation of these. ACRXS is currently in the process of drawing up contracts to start construction.

AMM Bahía Santa Elena Radars
Bay Santa Elena Marine Management Area Radars

With the creation of the Bay Santa Elena Marine Management Area, the Association assumes the challenge of placing two nautical radars in the area. In January 2018, a visit to the site was made with technical representatives of the Association to define the possible points for the placement of the radars. Currently, ACRXS is in the process of creating the terms of reference for the subsequent awarding and development of the project, and it is expected to begin installation this year.

Program in Alliance with: