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Direct ECDIS connection for Baltic warnings

The Baltic Navigational Warning Service, created as part of the STM (Sea Traffic Management) Validation project, has added a function to allow navigational warnings to be sent directly to an onboard ECDIS unit using digital machine to machine communication, automating the process to make information available more quickly and to reduce crew workloads.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The new service will see warnings sent only to those affected by the specific warning, which will be displayed directly in the ECDIS and deleted when no longer relevant. The purpose of the service is to provide ships with only those warnings that apply to their own routes at the time the warning is relevant.

This process removes the need to manually plot positions or areas received by NAVTEX, reducing the potential for human error as the warnings are provided digitally and displayed directly in the ECDIS.

“The new service is being verified by ships in the STM Validation project and also in the European Maritime Simulator Network. The mariners participating in the simulations were very positive. Not having to receive navigational warnings by NAVTEX only and manually transfer them was a great relief for the participants,” said Björn Andreasson, test bed manager for the STM Validation project.

“An Officer on Watch said in the debriefing afterwards that he now could fully focus on safe navigation knowing that the navigational warnings of relevance would show up directly in the ECDIS on board.”

The warnings are sent to ships using the draft S-124 format. The S-124 navigational warnings product specification is currently being developed by an IHO Correspondence Group, after which time it will be tested in STM Validation project testbeds.

“The S-124 format presents the information in a way that can be distributed by different means of communication, allowing all types of navigational warnings to use this in the future,” said Malin Liljenborg of the Swedish Maritime Administration, and a participant in the International Hydrographic Organization´s Sub-Committee on the World-Wide Navigational Warning Service.

“Both the STM Validation project in the Baltic Sea region and the SMART Navigation project in Korea are working together to test this new format. The two projects give us an opportunity to test the format at an early stage, which is a great advantage as we can use the experience in our continuous international work with improving the navigational warnings globally.”

In related news, the standardised data exchange system for Port Call Messages created within the STM project has also received the backing of IALA, with the message data format having been assigned as the designated identifier for the completion of a draft international standard being prepared for the International PortCDM Council (IPCDMC) by IALA.

The Port Call Message Format used within STM’s Port Collaborative Decision Making (PortCDM) system was developed to enable the coordination of stakeholder activities associated with port calls, providing a standard format to share necessary information, particularly time stamps, for example on Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) and Estimated Time of Departure (ETD).

In order to ensure interoperability with the IMO’s own e-Navigation initiatives, IPCDMC (initiated during the STM validation project) has supported the idea of migrating the Port Call Message Format to a Common Maritime Data Structure (CMDS) format, which would allow it to be integrated into the CMDS GI Registry currently managed by the International Hydrographic Office (IHO).

The research institute RISE Viktoria, based in Sweden, created a first draft of the standard system and handed it over to IALA for further consideration, with IALA confirming to IPCDMC that it would assign the S-211 format used within as the identifier for the development of the standard through the responsible IALA committee and working groups.

Consequently, once the S-211 format has been completed and adapted it will become part of the IALA domain within the CMDS GI Registry, IPCDMC says.{/mprestriction}

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