CIRM publishes Guideline on ECDIS Performance Test Procedure

Comité International Radio-Maritime (CIRM), the international association of marine electronics companies, is pleased to announce publication of its Guideline on Performance Test Procedure for ECDIS.

The Guideline outlines a test procedure to be carried out on a ship’s Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) installation, to determine if the ECDIS meets the operational requirements defined by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). It describes a range of manufacturer-recommended tests and checks, which correspond to IMO’s requirements for ECDIS as laid down in SOLAS regulations V/19.2 and V/27, MSC.232(82) and MSC.1/Circ.1503/Rev.1.

Development of the Guideline was initiated in response to concerns raised by stakeholders across the maritime industry about the condition of in-service ECDIS, which are often found to have operational issues. Problems typically encountered include inadequate power supply arrangements, the running of outdated software versions, disabled audio signal for alerts, and the incorrect functioning of interfaces to connected equipment, among others. The Guideline was produced by CIRM’s ECDIS Working Group, with the input of ECDIS manufacturers, system integrators, and service providers.

Ultimately the purpose of the Guideline on Performance Test Procedure for ECDIS is to ensure that an in-service ECDIS is functioning properly, in the interests of safety of navigation.

CIRM’s Secretary-General, Frances Baskerville, said ‘I am very pleased that CIRM members have come together to develop a practical solution to industry concerns about the operational condition of ECDIS. The Guideline provides stakeholders with effective measures to identify and address ECDIS operational issues. With ECDIS being the key navigational tool on the bridge, it’s essential that systems function as IMO intended and so we are delighted to support industry with this new publication.”

The Guideline is free-to-use and available on the CIRM website (http://cirm.org/publications)

CIRM announce first Annual Technical Workshop

The first CIRM Annual Technical Workshop will take place from 13-14 December in London, UK. The purpose of the meeting is to progress CIRM’s technical agenda, gathering members together over two days to focus on open work items.

The meeting is open to all CIRM members.

The venue has a generous maximum capacity, but in the unlikely event that we reach the maximum number of registrations, CIRM will have to close registration. Therefore you are encouraged to register as soon as you can!

For more info, please see the event page

CIRM & BIMCO publish Industry Standard on Software Maintenance

Following a 3-year collaboration, Comité International Radio-Maritime (CIRM) and BIMCO today announced publication of the Industry Standard on Software Maintenance of Shipboard Equipment, developed by a CIRM/BIMCO Joint Working Group with the input of shipowners, equipment manufacturers and service providers.

The work of the JWG involved a number of meetings and a pilot project, wherein a draft version of the standard was trialled on board ships. Companies participating in the pilot project included BP Shipping, Emarat Maritime, Furuno, Kongsberg Maritime, Maersk Line, MAN Diesel & Turbo, Radio Holland, and Sperry Marine. The results of the project were used to improve the contents of the standard.

Given the increasing prevalence of software-driven systems on the modern ship, there is a critical need for this software to be effectively maintained to ensure proper functioning of the equipment in the interests of navigational safety. Effective software maintenance is today hampered by a number of challenges, including a lack of information and awareness about the availability of software updates, an absence of proper planning of maintenance events, and problems with the execution of software updates.

The Industry Standard aims to improve shipboard software maintenance by describing a controlled process comprising four stages – Event Initiation, Planning, Execution and After-Service – identifying requirements for different stakeholders at each stage of the process. Among other measures, the Industry Standard includes the concepts of the onboard software log and the electronic service report.

Going forwards, both CIRM and BIMCO will encourage their respective members to adhere to the Industry Standard on Software Maintenance of Shipboard Equipment, which is freely available for download from the CIRM website at the following address: http://cirm.org/publications

EfficienSea2: Maritime Cloud becomes MCP – “Maritime Connectivity Platform”

A new name has been announced for the communication framework previously known as the Maritime Cloud. The decision has been made to provide clarity and support e-Navigation going from testbed to real life implementation.

The new name, Maritime Connectivity Platform, or MCP, has just been announced by Work Package Leader in EfficienSea2, Thomas Christensen. According to him, the change was necessary before taking the communication platform to the next level:

“MCP is at a level of maturity where we are ready to take it from our project spheres into operational mode. However, before taking that step we felt a strong need to clarify exactly what is being offered and what is being offered is a connectivity platform – not a storage cloud,” he says at EfficienSea2’s website.

The decision to change the name was taken by the development forum behind the MCP, which includes the two European projects EfficienSea2 and STM Validation, and the Korean SMART-Navigation Project.

You can read more about the change and how MCP will continue to enable efficient, secure and reliable information exchange in and around the maritime sector at the website of EfficienSea2.

EfficienSea2 News: User-friendly e-Navigation solutions

The EU-funded EfficienSea2 project (ES2), which aims to implement innovative and smart solutions to support efficient, safe and sustainable traffic at sea, has undertaken a full-scale simulation of a wide variety of e-Navigation solutions.

Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, one of the ES2 partners, ran the simulations over 4 days using 8 navigators.  The navigators used a range of e-Navigation services including digitalized Navigation Warnings and an interactive VTS-reporting system in a full mission bridge simulated environment. The navigators planned their route before entering the simulator and had access to the BalticWeb tools to assist them. This web-based tool was used during the simulation to present new services to the mariners. As a demonstrator for e-Navigation solutions it provides an example of ES2 solutions in an ‘easy to use’ map-based platform which is easy to adapt for presentation on other maritime platforms making use of the Maritime Cloud – the centerpiece of the ES2 project.

Digital technology and systems provide almost limitless possibilities but bring with them added complexity and increased burdens on navigators. The results gained from the simulations will feed into the development and implementation of new digital services to ensure that navigators can be provided with timely and accessible information and focus on their primary task of safe navigation.

Human factors testing is an integral part of the ES2 project and the 32 partners involved all work to develop solutions with an eye towards the impact on seafarers. The project also includes Force Technology and Chalmers University of Technology, both leading in the field of human element and human-machine interfaces.

By Andy Winbow, CIRM’s EfficienSea2 Consultant

Update on the Secretariat’s technical activity – May and June

Throughout May, the CIRM Secretariat was kept busy with involvement in numerous important industry meetings, and the trend is set to continue in June.

In May, Secretary-General Frances Baskerville attended the RTCM Annual Assembly (Florida), the Digital Ship CIO Forum (Hamburg), and the major bi-annual industry event Nor-Shipping (Oslo).

Chief Technical Officer Richard Doherty chaired the Interim Progress Meeting of the CIRM/BIMCO Pilot Project (Copenhagen), a Maritime Cloud meeting at CIRM’s office (London), and a 2-day CIRM S-Mode Task Group meeting held at Inmarsat (London).

Technical Officer Phil Lane participated in the Joint Working Group on Cyber Systems at ABS House (London), an EMSA-hosted workshop on Electronic Tagging (Lisbon), the first week of ITU Working Party 5B meeting (Geneva), and he remotely participated in the 48th meeting of ETSI TG 26.

The three of us will also be involved in plenty of meetings in June, including the IMSO Advisory Committee, the 98th Session of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee, E-navigation Underway Asia-Pacific and an associated S-Mode Workshop in South Korea, IEC TC 80 Working Groups 6 (Interfaces) and 17 (CMDS), and a further meeting of the Joint Working Group on Cyber Systems.

Reports of relevant meetings are in development and will be circulated in due course.

EfficienSea2 News: CIRM Member tests VDES in Baltic trial

Cobham SATCOM, a CIRM Member and a partner in the EU-funded EfficienSea2 project, has tested a new way to send and receive data at sea. The trials of the VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) took place aboard Scandlines’ hybrid ferries serving the Gedser (Denmark) to Rostock (Germany) route.  The VDES was installed as part of the EfficienSea2 project, in which CIRM is also a partner.

VHF is a long-established method of voice communication from ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore.  VDES exploits the same VHF band to provide data connectivity at sea. The changes to the VHF band will make it possible to maintain VHF voice communications as now but also to send broadband data, both terrestrial and satellite-based, for the first time.

This development aims to make it possible for ships to maintain a data connection at sea, thus eliminating the need to use satellite communications in coastal waters, resulting in lower costs.  Using VHF radio channels for the easy and reliable exchange of data and information will increase the range of available land-based connectivity methods while not compromising on the global connectivity satellites will be able to provide.

VDES is expected to have a range of up to 50 kilometres from the nearest land-based equipment and, with the ever-increasing need for reliable data exchange between ship and shore, the advanced communication features of VDES will be an important addition to the implementation of e-navigation services and the search for increased efficiency in ports and VTS operations.

By Andy Winbow, CIRM’s EfficienSea2 Consultant

Philip Lane joins CIRM as Technical Officer

On Monday the CIRM Secretariat welcomed our newest member of staff, Technical Officer Phil Lane, who will be working closely with Chief Technical Officer and Deputy Secretary-General Richard Doherty.

Phil will be in Singapore at the CIRM Annual Conference 22 – 24 April ready to meet CIRM members and moderate Session 9 on Regulations & Standards. 

An expert in maritime telecommunications systems, and with a background in mathematics and telecomms engineering, Phil has worked on many projects, systems and applications during his working career. He will be a superb asset to CIRM’s technical capability and we look forward to introducing him to members in person.

Phil Lane – CIRM’s new Technical Officer