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IMO to introduce digital directives Featured

The changes apply to port clearance The changes apply to port clearance IMO

Following a five-year review, the IMO Facilitation Committee has approved amendments to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965, which will introduce the mandatory electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew and passengers.

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The convention deals with procedures relating to the arrival, stay and departure of ships, as well as to their crew, passengers, baggage and cargo.

Public authorities will be obligated to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information within three years, and a transitional period of approximately 12 months will exist, where paper and electronic documents will both be allowed.

The IMO has recommended the use of a “Single Window” concept to enable information entry without duplication. An existing EU directive mandates that its Member States must adopt a “Single Window” system by June 2015 at the latest.

The system allows parties involved in trade and transport to submit, just once, standardised information using electronic data transmission, with a single entry point to fulfil all ship, import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements.

The IMO has stated it plans to develop a “Single Window” prototype in conjunction with experts in IT and port clearance.

Other developments include the addition of cyber security to the Committee’s agenda, with the IMO recognising it as “a relevant and urgent issue for the Organisation.”

The Committee also approved the revised version of FAL.5/Circ.39 on Guidelines for the use of electronic certificates, whereby electronic certificates should be treated as equivalent to traditional paper certificates, “provided that the certificates and the website used to access them conform to the guidelines and that specific verification instructions are available on board the ship.”

The new revised annex could enter into force 15 months after adoption, under the tacit acceptance procedure.   


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    Navigator Port software is used onboard several thousand ships for management of port documentation, assisting seafarers in navigating the administrative and regulatory complexity of port clearance and passage through controlled waters.

    “One of the most time-consuming tasks onboard is preparing port documentation,” said Captain Pradeep Chawla, managing director, QHSE and training at Anglo-Eastern. “We have brought in Navigator Port to reduce the administrative burden and ensure quality of the reporting. This is especially important on ships where the port of call is not known well in advance.”

    “The addition of Navigator Port to our ships is part of our overall digital transformation effort across our fleet,” stated Capt. Bjorn Hojgaard, chief executive officer of Anglo-Eastern. “We are evolving our shipboard technologies for the future with smart solutions, and DNV GL’s offering complements our vision for a digitally enhanced fleet.”

    Navigator Port facilitates compliance with requirements from charterers and port authorities. Approximately 1,400 port clearance forms are automatically filled in with ship data, so the required paperwork can be prepared in a few minutes. The system reports directly to maritime authorities, such as the Electronic Notice of Arrival/Departure (eNOAD) to the United States Coast Guard, and the Electronic Pre-Arrival Notification (ePAN) to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

    In addition, Navigator Port includes a database of information about all the world’s ports and terminals based on publications and data from IHS Markit Ports & Terminals Guide, ADMIRALTY List of Radio Signals (Volume 6) and other sources. In all, paperwork can be reduced by up to 90 per cent.

    “We’re very pleased about the successful implementation of Navigator Port across the Anglo-Eastern fleet. Navigator Port makes it easier for the crew to report accurately and efficiently, which ultimately means that they can focus on their primary responsibility: safe and sound navigation,”  said Kenneth Vareide, CEO of DNV GL – Digital Solutions. 

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