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E-navigation


The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its 81st session decided to include, in the work programmes of the NAV and Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR) Sub-Committees, a high priority item on "Development of an e-navigation strategy", with a target completion date of 2008 and with the NAV Sub-Committee acting as co-ordinator. NAV 52, which met in July 2006, was instructed to give preliminary consideration to this important topic.

The aim is to develop a strategic vision for e-navigation, to integrate existing and new navigational tools, in particular electronic tools, in an all-embracing system that will contribute to enhanced navigational safety (with all the positive repercussions this will have on maritime safety overall and environmental protection) while simultaneously reducing the burden on the navigator. As the basic technology for such an innovative step is already available, the challenge lies in ensuring the availability of all the other components of the system, including electronic navigational charts, and in using it effectively in order to simplify, to the benefit of the mariner, the display of the occasional local navigational environment. E-navigation would thus incorporate new technologies in a structured way and ensure that their use is compliant with the various navigational communication technologies and services that are already available, providing an overarching, accurate, secure and cost-effective system with the potential to provide global coverage for ships of all sizes.

 

Updates on latest work

Sub-Committee on Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR) - 11th session: 19-23 February 2007

The Sub-Committee discussed the development of a strategy for e-navigation, which is being co-ordinated by the NAV Sub-Committee. The aim is to develop a strategic vision for e-navigation, to integrate existing and new navigational tools, in particular electronic tools, in an all-embracing system that will contribute to enhanced navigational safety (with all the positive repercussions this will have on maritime safety overall and environmental protection) while simultaneously reducing the burden on the navigator.

The COMSAR Sub-Committee agreed that the user requirements should be clearly defined by the NAV Sub-Committee before the COMSAR Sub-Committee could review the technical improvements that might be required if GMDSS equipment was to be utilized as a data communication network for E-Navigation. It was agreed that the development of E-Navigation should be user driven and not technology driven; there should be equipment performance standardization, including a standard mode of operation for shipboard equipment, and the software installed in operating systems should follow a formal change control process to ensure that all elements of the E Navigation system would operate efficiently.

While existing GMDSS infrastructure supported SAR services and communication, broadband communication on a global basis, using satellite technology, would be necessary in order to develop and implement E-navigation.

Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation - 52nd session: 17-21 July 2006

Discussions on developing a strategy on e-navigation were initiated at the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV), when it met for its 52nd session. The aim is to develop a strategic vision/concept that will integrate existing and new navigational tools, so as to contribute to navigational safety while simultaneously reducing the burden on the navigator.

The debate followed the decisions of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its 81st session, in May this year, to include a high priority item on "Development of an e-navigation strategy" in the work programmes of the NAV and Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR) Sub-Committees. The target completion date for this item is 2008 and the NAV Sub-Committee is acting as co-ordinator.

The Sub-Committee fully supported the concept of e-navigation, agreeing on the need to work expeditiously towards developing a strategic vision/concept in a well defined and structured manner. IMO should take the lead but it would also be important to invite other organizations, in particular, the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), to participate in its work and provide relevant input.

An intersessional Correspondence Group on e-navigation was established to provide comments and make recommendations on the following:

  • the definition and scope of the concept of e-navigation in terms of its purpose, components and limitations, with the aim of producing a system architecture;
  • the identification of the key issues and priorities that will have to be addressed in a strategic vision and a policy framework on e-navigation;
  • the identification of both benefits and obstacles that may arise in the further development of the strategic vision and policy framework;
  • the identification of the roles of the Organization, its Member States, other bodies and industry in such development; and
  • the formulation of a related work programme, including an outline migration plan (to give timescales for the phased roll out of the proposed system) and the roles of the NAV and COMSAR Sub-Committees and the input of other parties concerned.

 

Further information

IALA/AISM 16th Conference - Aids to navigation in a digital world - Keynote address by Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, Shanghai, 22 May 2006