Danish Maritime Authority Leads Development of E-Navigation

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Danish Maritime Authority Leads Development of E-Navigation

The Danish Maritime Authority is still in the lead of the development of the navigation concept of the future, e-Navigation. Now, the framework is no longer called by EfficienSea, but ACCSEAS.

With the conclusion of the EfficienSea project in early 2012, one could fear that the work on e-Navigation would become homeless. But fortunately that is not the case. In April 2012, a new EU project was born, ACCSEAS, and within this framework the work on e-Navigation will be continued. The project covers the North Sea and consists of 11 partners from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The Danish Maritime Authority is among the ones in the forefront of two work packages concerning the development of new services and tests and user feedback.

“We are not starting all over again, but drawing on the experiences gained so far, just as we are refining and further developing the equipment already installed in the form of platforms, software, etc. We will also continue with some of the same test users, so much of the fundamental work has already been done”, stresses Thomas Christensen, e-Navigation Project Manager.

Two e-Navigation legs

“In the Danish Maritime Authority, we have right from the birth of the e-Navigation concept been much involved in the development and test of ideas and specific services. The purpose has especially been two-fold: On the one hand, to get rid of some of the often heavy administrative burdens experienced by navigating officers in their work and, on the other hand, to increase safety of navigation, locally and globally. In some cases, the two purposes seem to melt together”, explains Thomas Christensen.

Satellite positioning is fragile

One of the measures to be dealt with under ACCSEAS is to examine the backup systems for the ships’ positioning systems. As things are now, one is very dependent on satellite systems, and they can be fragile, both in terms of technology, but also because it is relatively easy to jam them, i.e. to disturb their signals. Therefore, it makes good sense from a safety perspective to develop other methods for determining a ship’s position, and the Danish Maritime Authority supplies, inter alia, software and platforms for this work.

No go area

Thomas Christensen emphasizes another area where e-Navigation may help meet safety-related challenges:

“In the charts, the lines of depths are static and cannot take account of changes in the water level. The ship can, for example, draw its route on a navigational prototype system, indicate the draught and the time of the passage and submit the information to shore. Then, it can receive water level prognoses and information about where it can and cannot navigate – no go areas. Such a service may help increase both efficiency and safety of navigation since it provides the ships with greater degrees of freedom than they would have had otherwise.”

Thomas Christensen points out that, within e-Navigation, one works with standards. This means that it is possible to use the various services universally by all authorities and ships – independent of suppliers and providers.

Next conference underway

The Danish Maritime Authority has hosted two e-Navigation conferences, and a third one is already being planned:

“There is something to look forward to. As usual, the world elite in e-Navigation will be participating – I dare promise that some of the really heavyweights will take part. We will also move the conference to more spaceous surroundings, namely the Pearl of Scandinavia. The conference will be held from 29 to 31 January 2013, and parts of the programme are already in place,“ reveals Thomas Christensen.

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Source: DMA, April 24, 2012; Image: e-Navigation

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