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IT issues on the table at MSC Featured

The IMO’s Marine Safety Committee (MSC) met in London last week for its 94th session, with several IT issues on the agenda, including Iridium’s proposed move to become a GMDSS satellite provider.

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The MSC decided that that the International Maritime Satellite Organisation (IMSO) should put together a panel of experts to produce a technical and operational assessment of Iridium, as it looks to join Inmarsat as a provider of GMDSS services.

Elsewhere, the MSC approved the e-navigation Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP), a roadmap of tasks required to give effect to prioritised e-navigation solutions, including improved bridge design, equipment, communications and reporting.

Cyber security was also on the agenda, with the Committee considering a proposal to develop voluntary guidelines on cyber security practices for ports, vessels and marine facilities.

The MSC agreed that cyber security was “an important and timely issue”, but that unilateral action should not be taken by the IMO without first consulting with other UN bodies and international organisations, such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

In other Committee business, China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System - the country’s equivalent of GPS - was recognised as a component of the World-Wide Radionavigation System (WWRNS), and approval was given to revised AIS guidelines, 406 MHz distress beacon guidelines, and a number of amendments to LRIT-related circulars.

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    “As a Certified Application Provider, we will be constantly developing new features to generate increasingly powerful tools for the maritime market,” said i4sea CEO Bruno Balbi. “Working with a company like Inmarsat is really a great deal for i4sea and this is the first smart system that integrates in a single platform, all the essential tools to support decision making regarding vessel’s maneuvers and port terminal’s operations,” he said.

    Six integrated tools are offered and includes services such as ocean and weather hyperlocal forecasts, dynamic draft prediction, terminal efficiency analytics and analysis and prediction of siltation or erosion dynamics of the seabed.

    “We are delighted to be working with such an innovative start-up such as i4Sea, a company we worked with as part of the Portuguese Bluetech accelerator programme earlier this year,” said Marco Cristoforo Camporeale, head of digital Solutions, Inmarsat Maritime. “

    “This tie-up will allow ship operators and managers to both route plan and improve terminal efficiency and this is all achieved through the i4sea application on Fleet Data and via a secure platform that is fully scalable, fleet-wide and now commercially available on both Fleet Xpress and FleetBroadband,” said Mr Camporeale.

    Currently, i4sea's clients include Brazilian companies such as TECON Salvador (Wilson, Sons), Açu Petróleo, CSN Coal and Ore Terminal, Cotegipe Port, Bahia’s Maritime Authority, Itajaí Port, Enseada, among others. There are also international contracts with the ports of Leixões and Sines, in Portugal.

     

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    “For all practical purposes, until now it has not been possible for research vessels in remote seas to transmit large quantities of data back to base in real time, let alone stream images suitable for high-definition TV broadcast,” said Peter Broadhurst, senior vice president, Inmarsat. “Nekton’s decision to work with Inmarsat has changed that.”

    Pressure Drop’s video-streaming capability has already been proven through her role in the ‘Five Deeps Expedition’, supporting the world’s only manned submersible able to descend to full ocean depth (11,000m). For its new mission, data from submersibles will feed into the 2022 Indian Ocean Summit, where Seychelles and Maldivian governments, and ‘First Descent’ partners seek to create a sustainable management plan for 2,000,000km2 of ocean.

    Part of the Pressure Drop project also sees Inmarsat installing Fleet Data, the maritime industry's first secure IoT platform, which extracts data from sensors and uploads it to a secure central cloud-based database for easy access with no additional airtime cost. Its use will enable the first-ever transmissions of water chemistry and geophysics datasets.

    Fleet Data will also allow scientific research to be shared onto an open source platform, with processed datasets made available so that registered marine scientists around the world can participate in a virtual Hackathon to interrogate data and publish findings within two weeks. All datasets will be blockchain-coded to ensure security, transparency, and decentralisation.

    “One of the biggest issues is that it can take months or even years to publish data analysis, by which time data may have less relevance and application. By using Fleet Data we can publish data in an instant via an Inmarsat API: this is ground-breaking for marine science and could accelerate the analysis and publication of ocean data,” said Oliver Steed, chief executive, and Nekton.

    Inmarsat’s yachting partner YachtProjects designed, installed and commissioned Pressure Drop’s management and communications systems, including ECDIS, CCTV and open port capability.

    Nekton’s research, sampling and survey technologies fully integrate with shipboard systems, with the YachtProjects’ Seawall package controlling the shipboard network and shaping bandwidth and streaming, with the terminal hardware provided by Intellian Technologies.

     

     

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