The Maritime Safety and Security Centre (MSSC) is a building with a number of high security features. For this reason, the building is not open to the public.
These features are very diverse. This is because the building houses a number of police offices, which is associated with corresponding security requirements, such as, e.g. a 24h reception, access control systems and bulletproof glazing.
Furthermore the building is classified as a „critical infrastructure“. This is a designation for facilities that have a significant importance for safety (here: in the maritime sector). The reason behind this classification is that the authorities and institutions represented in the MSSC do not just perform routine operations but also need a facility that will also be fully operational in exceptional situations in order to exchange information and coordinate resources. The Federal Office for Information Security, which is overseen by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and responsible for all IT-security related matters, developed a range of stringent requirements concerning the security of buildings considered critical to Germany’s infrastructure and that are connected to its new high-security network in 2009.
Another one of the building’s special features is that each of the seven partners housed inside it also operates its own IT systems within the building. This means that, in addition to the shared network and technology installed on site, each partner also has access to their respective agency’s network. This creates the perfect conditions for the partners’ respective operations in the Maritime Safety and Security Centre.
The entire building has a redundant design in order to guarantee the availability of the information and communication technology installed at JERACS and in the special storage rooms. This means that everything within the building is provided in duplicate: the power supply, server room, power and IT networks.
The building’s architectural design is also very unique for Cuxhaven’s harbour area.
The new building was constructed according to plans drawn up by the architects Mahler, Günster und Fuchs from Stuttgart. This design was chosen as the winner from submissions from 15 other planning offices. The verdict on the design stated: “This design, which comprises a four-storey solitary building, perfectly blends in with the harbour’s urban design. The building’s basic square design both perfectly communicates the Maritime Safety and Security Centre’s importance and meets its operational needs. [...] To summarise, the design submitted by the architect firm MGF meets all of the architectural requirements concerning urban development, building structure, functionality and efficiency that this building needs to satisfy.”
A piece by the Bremen artist Hinrich Brockmüller was installed in the MSSC foyer. Crafted in aluminium, it shows a map of the world with the sea beds in relief form. Reasoning its decision, the jury stated that maps are the basis for monitoring maritime positions. The world map in the foyer creates a direct reference to the global reach of the shipping industry while pointing to the links between MSSC and the security authorities in neighbouring countries.
“Percent for Art” has been an integral part of the Federal Republic’s responsibility as a developer since the 1960s and meant that the MSSC's design also involved the inclusion of art. On 23 January 1950, the German Bundestag decreed that all property development projects (new builds and conversions) undertaken by the Federation, [...] must always allocate at least 1% of the building contract’s value to visual art”.