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E-navigation Underway 2016


​E-navigation Underway 2016
2 February 2016
Keynote address by Kitack Lim
Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first of all thank you for the opportunity to participate in this conference and to deliver this keynote speech. A special thank you goes to IALA Secretary-General Mr Francis Zachariae and to Mr Andreas Nordseth, the Director General of the Danish Maritime Authority.

This is the first major external event that I have been invited to address in my new role as Secretary-General of IMO, and I must say how appropriate it is that the conference should take place on board a ship. One of my most important objectives at IMO is to ensure that the Organization continues to draw on the experience and the knowledge of those involved in shipping at the operational level, so being here on a ship has a symbolic resonance, in that respect, that I really appreciate.

One advantage of a ship as a conference venue is that the organizers really do have a captive audience – but in this case, I think the subject matter alone is enough to ensure full houses at every session.

E-navigation is the future; but it has been "the future" for a long time now. Through conferences such as this, and through the continuing work at IMO and by all the other stakeholders we will hear from during this conference, the challenge now is to turn "the future" into "the present" so that all the much heralded benefits and advantages of e-navigation can be fully realized. Having said that, e-navigation has indeed already been realized in some way, as I will explain to you later. E-navigation includes a wide range of concepts and has been the subject of a long and continuing effort at IMO.

During the course of this conference you will hear and see a number of fascinating presentations about technical developments and far-reaching initiatives to build such developments into viable solutions for the shipping industry. Both shipboard and shore-side technologies will be showcased, as well as the related training and human-element aspects that are essential if they are to be effective.

But I want to begin this keynote by taking a step backwards. What do we mean by e-navigation? What is it that all these innovations and developments are leading towards? There is, of course, the formal definition of e-navigation, which was adopted by IMO back in 2008 and which, I am sure, you all know off by heart. I don't intend to go over that again now. But I think it is worth recalling, once again, the aims and the overall goals that were adopted at the same time, as these provide a timely reminder of the journey we are undertaking.

So: the aim of e-navigation is to meet present and future user needs through the harmonization of marine navigation systems and supporting shore services; and the overall goal is to improve safety of navigation and to reduce errors by equipping users, on ships and ashore, with modern, proven tools, optimized for good decision-making, to make maritime navigation and communication more reliable and user-friendly.

At the same time as adopting these aims and objectives, a strategy for the development and implementation of e-navigation was also approved. That strategy identified IMO as the one, single, institution having the technical, operational and legal competences needed to define and enforce the overarching framework for the implementation of e-navigation.

Of course, that doesn't mean that IMO has to carry out all the relevant tasks in-house – as this conference will clearly show, there are other stakeholders which are quite properly taking the lead in many different areas, according to their competence and expertise.

The development of e-navigation is clearly a collective task. IMO may play a central and co-ordinating role but that also brings with it a number of important responsibilities, for example:

• developing and maintaining the vision
• defining the services, including their scope in terms of users, geography, and operational concept
• identifying responsibilities for the design, implementation, operation and enforcement of e-navigation – and it is important in this to acknowledge the rights, obligations and limits of flag States, coastal States, port States and the various authorities within those States
• defining the phased transition to e-navigation in a way that enables early benefits to be realized and existing and emerging equipment, systems and services to be re-used
• taking the lead in setting appropriate performance standards for e-navigation, covering all dimensions of the system – shipborne equipment, shore-side systems and the communications that link them
• ensuring that the concept accommodates and builds on existing systems – and funding programmes
• facilitating access to funding from international agencies, such as the World Bank, the regional development banks as well as international development funding
• assessing and defining the training requirements associated with e-navigation and assisting the relevant bodies to develop and deliver the necessary training programmes
• monitoring implementation to ensure that contracting States are fulfilling their obligations and ensuring that e-navigation users are also complying with requirements; and, last but not least,
• leading and coordinating the external communications effort necessary to support the case for e-navigation.

This is clearly something of a juggling act, and it requires successful input not just from IMO but from all the organisations involved in e-navigation if it is to succeed. Indeed, I cannot emphasize enough the need to cooperate – this also goes for IMO and IALA, and indeed for IHO.

So, where we are right now on the collective journey towards meeting the aims and objectives underpinning the development of e-navigation?

The development and implementation strategy for e-navigation called for a gap analysis, which was duly undertaken and completed in 2012. This gave rise to the identification of nine potential e-navigation solutions. Further analysis led to five of these being given the highest priority, based on seamless transfer of data between various equipments on board and between ship and shore – in all directions.

These five priority solutions are, as you are aware:

• improved, harmonized and user-friendly bridge design
• the 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
• and improved communication of the VTS service portfolio

Although not prioritized at this stage the remaining identified potential e-navigation solutions would, it was agreed, be addressed in the future, as e-navigation evolves and develops.

The five prioritized e-navigation solutions formed the basis of the e-navigation Strategy Implementation Plan, or SIP, which was finalized in 2013 and later approved by the Maritime Safety Committee in 2015.

The SIP contains a list of 17 tasks emanating from the five prioritized e-navigation solutions. These, it has been agreed, should be implemented between 2016 and 2019. Last year, the Maritime Safety Committee considered a number of proposals and agreed to include five new outputs in IMO's High-level Action Plan under the heading "Development and implementation of e-navigation".

The three first are:

• Additional modules to the Revised Performance Standards for Integrated Navigation Systems relating to the harmonization of bridge design and display of information
• Revised Guidelines and criteria for ship reporting systems
• Guidelines for the harmonized display of navigation information received via communications equipment

Each of these three is to be considered at the IMO Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue in March this year. Of vital importance here is the need for harmonization in all of these areas – for example, harmonization of data formats, of the symbols used, and harmonization between equipment, systems and interfaces. This will, of course, require a coordinated approach between international organizations and the industry. Indeed the important role of the industry in the design and development of equipment and systems cannot be overestimated.

The fourth and fifth outputs of the five new outputs in IMO's High-level Action Plan – which are Guidelines on standardized modes of operation, or S-mode, and Revised General requirements for shipborne radio equipment forming part of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and for electronic navigational aids relating to Built-In Integrity Testing for navigation equipment, both are planned for a 2018-2019 timeframe.

In all these endeavours, it is clear that the software developed for the equipment and systems of the future is absolutely vital. Good software can help ensure proper harmonization across platforms and holds the key to cyber-security – securing and protecting the information that is being processed.

So, as you can see, there is a great deal to be done – but these outputs address most of the tasks contained in the SIP. The development of other tasks will require further outputs or are tasks required to be conducted either by the industry or by organizations other than IMO.

For example, we expect the Maritime Safety Committee in May to consider a revised proposal for a new output related to the implementation of Maritime Service Portfolios, or MSPs. This output will require inputs from different organizations involved in the implementation of MSPs such as IALA, IHO and WMO.

Other significant documents already approved by the Committee include Guidelines on Harmonization of test beds reporting; and Guidelines on Software Quality Assurance and Human Centred Design for e-navigation.

So, we are engaged on a long and continuing voyage towards e-navigation, but we have already come a considerable distance and I think we have charted a good course ahead for the future.

Let me take this opportunity to encourage continued participation – greater participation if possible – in the implementation of e-navigation and, in particular, the work associated with the five new outputs approved by the Organization.

Let me also highlight the need to review the list of gaps and to address the remaining potential e-navigation solutions that were not initially prioritized, so that we can identify further tasks and then incorporate them in the SIP, as and when required. And, in this context, let me stress once again how important it is that this whole process is driven by clearly identified user requirements, and not by technology; and that the user needs are addressed in a cost-effective manner. We must not lose sight of the fact that the end-user needs to see some real value emerging from all this effort.

I would also like to highlight the vital importance of conducting technical cooperation and capacity-building activities in various parts of the world, to promote and provide information on the status of the implementation of e-navigation initiatives. This conference is a good example but I think this is one area in which considerably more could be done.

Ladies and gentlemen, the development of e-navigation is clearly a team effort, and any good team is built on good communication between the individual players. Once again, conferences such as this help to promote the exchange of information and ideas between all stakeholders, including IMO, its Member States, the industry and the various other organizations that are playing an active role in bringing this concept to reality, and I thank and commend the organizers of this event for putting together such a timely and relevant programme.

In conclusion, it is interesting to note that the "e" in "e-navigation" can be used in several connotations. Does it stand for "electronic" navigation? Well, perhaps, although electronic navigation has been with us for a very long time and the array of related acronyms such as AIS, ECDIS, IBS, INS, ARPA, LRIT and GMDSS are all very familiar. And e-navigation also looks at issues that are clearly not electronic, such as operational procedures, familiarization, documentation and manuals and, of course, training.

Perhaps the "e" stands for "enhanced" navigation – there is certainly a clear understanding that e-navigation should deliver an improvement on what we already have.

Of course, back in 2008, when the first proposal on this subject was presented to IMO, "e" was the fashionable prefix to indicate something advanced and ground-breaking; maybe if that proposal was initiated today, it would talk about "i-navigation" – "i" for integrated, or perhaps "i" for improved.

But what we have is e-navigation: and I think the most appropriate way to define this might actually be "evolved" navigation. Because there are so many ways in which e-navigation can offer enhanced safety, better environmental protection, improved traffic management and commercial benefits. And, as our journey continues, there is no doubt that both the technological advances and the advantages they can bring are continuing to evolve.

Our challenge is to make sure the vision and the strategy for e-navigation allows that evolving potential to be fully realized.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your time. I wish you productive and successful conference.