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E-navigation: The future of safe shipping

Edition 56 - VTMIS & Aids to Navigation (ATON), VTS, navigation, mooring and berthing

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is developing a strategic vision for e-navigation, to integrate existing and new navigational tools in an all-embracing system that will contribute to enhanced navigational safety. Gurpreet Singhota, Deputy Director/Head of the Operational Safety Section within the Maritime Safety Division of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), talks to Port Technology International about the progress of the project.

What is the most recent progress for the e-navigation development?

Overall, the work is progressing quite well. The lead body is the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation, which next meets from 2 to 6 September 2013. The e-navigation concept is being developed in co-operation with the Sub-Committees on Radiocommunications, Search and Rescue (COMSAR) and Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW).

What were the outcomes of the last sub-committee on safety of navigation meeting?

The Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV), at its 58th session, (2 to 6 July 2012) completed the gap analysis, approved the final list of gaps and endorsed the preliminary list of potential e-navigation solutions, the methodology of the Human Element Analysing Process, the procedure for the Formal Safety Assessment methodology and the further development of Maritime Service Portfolios (which define and describe the set of operational and technical services and their level of service provided by a stakeholder in a given sea area, waterway, or port, as appropriate).

The gap analysis identifies areas, which the e-navigation strategy should address, for example the possible lack of bandwidth and assignment of adequate bandwidth for potential e-navigation communication needs, including short range communication.

Potential solutions to address the identified gaps include those relating to:

  • improved, harmonized and user-friendly bridge design;
  • means for standardized and automated reporting;
  • improved reliability, resilience and integrity of bridge equipment and navigation information; integration and presentation of available information in graphical displays received via communication equipment;
  • information managements improved access to relevant information for search and rescue; improved reliability, resilience and integrity of bridge equipment and navigation information for shore-based users;
  • improved and harmonized shore-based systems and services; and
  • improved communication of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) service portfolio.

The IMO Correspondence Group on e-navigation was re-established to further develop the detailed ship and shore architecture; the concept of Maritime Service Portfolios including the draft Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP). It was further tasked to provide comments and recommendations with respect to software quality assurance plus progress the development of draft guidelines for usability evaluation of navigational equipment and for the harmonization of test beds.

Can you describe the problems posed by lack of bandwidth and what solutions have been proposed for to tackle this issue?

One of the gaps identified is “possible lack of bandwidth and assignment of adequate bandwidth for potential e-navigation communication needs, including short range communication”, with the COMSAR and NAV Sub-Committees identified as the technical bodies to look into this.

The preliminary list of potential e-navigation solutions identifies “Provision of system for automatic source and channel management on-board for the selection of most appropriate communication means (equipment) according to criteria as, bandwidth, content, integrity, costs”. So the idea is to look into some kind of automatic source and channel management system.

 

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