The team

HomeThe team

Core team

Nico Vertongen

Team Leader

Nico Vertongen has a degree in Political Science (Belgium/Sweden), with a specialisation in international relations. He has practical experience in macro-economic, market and port studies. In 2002 he joined the Antwerp Port Authority, first in the research department and the APEC training centre, then as chief of staff to the president of the Port of Antwerp. Since 2007, he has been working as a consultant in project management and foreign investments for the Port of Antwerp. When the Port of Antwerp International (PAI) was established in 2010, he was appointed Africa Director. During the course of his work as project manager for twinning with the port of Matadi (Democratic Republic of Congo), Nico Vertongen has developed extensive experience in West and Central Africa. On behalf of the Port of Antwerp, he has made numerous visits to ports in the sub-region, which has given him a great deal of knowledge of the particularities of African ports, especially with regard to governance, management, PPP models, port concessions and inland connections.

In 2019, Nico Vertongen was recruited as port governance expert and in September 2020 as team leader for the WeCAPS project.

Samuel Champon

Civil Protection Expert

Samuel Champon has been working as a civil protection expert for the WeCAPS project since June 2019. In this capacity, he is in charge of directing port security actions towards the protection of people, goods and the environment. These actions to reinforce port security are part of tactical measures for first responders in the event of an accident, and strategic actions in crisis management for decision makers.

Samuel's 30 years of professional experience have mainly focused on work in the civil security field, within the Marine Fire Brigade of Marseille and at the General Directorate for Civil Security and Crisis Management (DGSCGC) of the French Ministry of Interior. His experience as a navigator on French Navy warships and in development in Africa are additional assets for the project's activities.

Christophe Van Maele

ISPS Expert

Christophe Van Maele is a specialist in port management and the practical implementation of ISPS security projects in ports and port facilities. He has more than 30 years of experience in seaports, first as a Merchant Marine Officer, then as a member of the management board of several shipping companies and, since 2004, as an ISPS security expert. His hands-on approach and experience at sea and in port operations have enabled him to successfully implement several ISPS projects in ports and terminals in Europe, South America and Africa.

He joined WeCAPS as an ISPS expert, where his role is to advise and assist African ports to improve their ISPS security level to prevent terrorist attacks.

Frank Bracquez

Port Governance Expert

Frank Bracquez has over 30 years of management, business and consulting experience in ports, terminals, shipping, and supply chain.

During his career, he has worked with leading industrial, engineering and service companies handling complex departments and projects, primarily in the maritime industry, ports, oil and gas storage and supply chain.

He has successfully led departmental and corporate reorganizations and defined optimization and business strategies in the shipping and port industry.

After his career as a master mariner, he also used his onshore expertise to lead, organize and manage several port greenfield, new construction and expansion projects.

Fabrice Tollari

Expert in crisis management - Deputy key expert in civil protection and maritime safety

Fabrice TOLLARI served for more than 22 years in an operational unit within the Paris Fire Brigade. The second part of his career was oriented towards crisis management within the French crisis centers of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Fabrice joined the WeCAPS project in April 2021. His expertise allows him to support the project in the evaluation and implementation of crisis management systems, in the support and training of decision makers and dedicated teams. His role also consists in assisting the key expert in civil protection and maritime security in the planning and implementation of security actions for the port authorities.

Jean-Philippe Picquart

Monitoring and Evaluation Expert

Jean-Philippe Picquart served for 27 years as a naval officer in the French Navy. During the first 15 years of his career, he gained practical experience in maritime security in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The second part of his career was oriented towards pilotage for high maritime authorities, notably for the Maritime Prefect of the Atlantic from 2008 to 2014.

Since 2017, Jean-Philippe has been in charge of the monitoring and evaluation of several European maritime and port security and safety projects: GoGIN, CRIMARIO, WeCAPS.

Yvonnick Lanoƫ

Organization and Finances Expert

Yvonnick Lanoƫ is the founding president of the SAS "TPE-29-Accompagnement". Since February 2020, he has been involved in the "WeCAPS" cooperation project in the fields of organisation and finance of the project's partner ports.

A former frigate captain in the French Navy, Yvonnick was in charge of finance and logistics at sea and at headquarters from 1990 to 2014. He was twice responsible for the "budget execution" section at the Navy headquarters. In 2011 he became director of administration and finance at the Brest-Lorient defence base support unit. In this position, he acquired skills in accounting, public finance, organisation management, logistics and public procurement.

Marion Piccio

Communication Expert

With a degree in Human and Social Sciences as well as in Information and Communication Sciences, Marion Piccio has extensive professional experience in communication and media relations. Based in Africa since 2015, she has worked in different international organisations such as the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Dakar, Senegal, and Abuja, Nigeria.

Since 2019, she is in charge of communications and public outreach for several projects in the Critical Sea Routes programme (WeCAPS and PASSMAR). For the WeCAPS project, implemented by Expertise France, she is in charge of communication with the aim of promoting the project to the various African and European partners, and ensuring its visibility via social networks and any other relevant communication tool. She is also in charge of all the communication tools to be developed, media coverage as well as the logistics for major events.