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

BIMCO bulletin reports on CIRM/BIMCO Pilot Project on SW Maintenance

“A changing world”

By Aron Sørensen
Head of Maritime Technology & Regulation at BIMCO

Extracted from BIMCO bulletin, February 2017

The equipment and systems installed on today’s ships are increasingly dependent on software, which itself continues to increase in sophistication and complexity. Updating software updating gives manufacturers the opportunity to innovate, to differentiate their systems and to ensure continued compliance with regulatory developments ashore. But the change in focus from hardware to software brings associated challenges in management and security. Therefore, CIRM (Comité International Radio-Maritime) and BIMCO have joined forces to ensure that software maintenance of shipboard equipment is conducted in a controlled and high quality manner.

Shipboard software maintenance is a complex subject. Because ships travel all over the globe service personnel may have to be flown in over significant distances, or provided at a local port. Software maintenance is further complicated by the fact that different sub-suppliers have their own nonstandard software updating practices. Software maintenance can go wrong for a number of reasons, including a lack of communication between the parties involved, a lack of competence on the part of the service personnel, and a misunderstanding of the extent to which systems on board are integrated.

A typical example of a real-life case where software maintenance was not completed successfully is given below:

A ship experienced a problem with its radar antenna, and a service provider from a company other than the original manufacturer was summoned on board to fix the problem. The technician encountered problems when he attempted to update the existing system software, and so decided to install a different version. But the original manufacturer did not support this particular version, leading to a software failure and a total break-down of the antenna system. As a consequence, the ship had to downgrade its software during a subsequent port call to restore system functionality. The technician had not been instructed to replace the software version, and whilst they no doubt believed they were helping, their actions caused more serious problems to the shipboard equipment.

The Draft Standard on Software Maintenance of Shipboard Equipment

The complexity of software maintenance emphasises that there is a need for an internationally recognised industry standard to regulate the maintenance of shipboard software. Therefore, in 2014, BIMCO and CIRM came together to jointly develop the Draft Standard on Software Maintenance of Shipboard Equipment. The standard covers software used in all departments on board the shipwhether it is carried out remotely, ashore or onboard.

Effective maintenance of software depends on the identification, planning and execution of measures necessary to support maintenance activities throughout the full software lifecycle. The Draft Standard therefore harmonises requirements for the stakeholders involved in the software maintenance process, and was developed with the input of manufacturers, service providers and shipping companies.

The standard divides shipboard software maintenance into four distinct sub-processes:

1. Event initiation

The first process in the flow is the initiation of the shipboard software maintenance, which can be categorised as preventative and/or corrective software maintenance, and may or may not involve a software update. Here the stakeholders realise that there is a need for software maintenance and prepare the software for doing so.

2. Planning

The software maintenance should be properly planned before it is executed in order to optimise software maintenance arrangements and to ensure the best possible outcome. The planning process involves close communication between all relevant stakeholders.

3. Execution

The execution process is when the software maintenance is actually carried out on shipboardequipment, and it is critical that this process is conducted in accordance with what was planned.

4. After-service

Following completion of the execution process the communication between the relevant stakeholders continue to monitor the success of the process, and to provide information which can be used to increase the effectiveness of future planning processes and ultimately the success of future software maintenance.

Pilot project

BIMCO, CIRM, together with several shipowners and equipment manufacturers have now initiated a software maintenance pilot project to undertake a small-scale trial implementation of the Draft Standard in order to evaluate the practicality and effectiveness of its requirements.

Beginning in 2017, the pilot project will be “live” and the different stakeholders will be able to gather experience by performing software maintenance under real circumstances, in accordance with the requirements of the Draft Standard. This will be used to assess whether the Draft Standard is “fit-forpurpose”.

| Aron Sørensen February 2017

CIRM signs MoU with IAIN

On Tuesday 8th February 2017, CIRM signed an MOU with IAIN, the International Association of Institutes of Navigation.

Like CIRM, IAIN also has consultative status at the IMO and is working in the fields of traffic separation, collision regulations, accuracy standards for navigation, matters affecting the use of GNSS, e-navigation and autonomous vessels.

Seen here IAIN Secretary General Simon Gaskin (Royal Institute of Navigation) and Frances Baskerville, Secretary-General CIRM.

CIRM to attend International e-Navigation Underway 2017

The CIRM Secretariat will be present at the International e-Navigation Underway 2017 conference next week (31st Jan – 2nd Feb), alongside a number of CIRM members.

There is still time to join us, for those of you not yet registered! Members of CIRM automatically receive a 10% discount.

The technical programme and booking form are available here: http://grahampartners.wixsite.com/2017-int-e-nav

CIRM signs MOU with ISO

Non governmental organizations CIRM (established in 1928)  and the International Organization for Standardization (established in 1947), have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to bring forward closer opportunities for collaboration in the development of standards and related activities.

Both organizations are working in the field of maritime communications, maritime safety and efficiency of navigation.  Respective and complimentary objectives can be achieved with maximum coordination of efforts and it is envisaged that common interest subjects, programmes and activities will be enhanced with this collaboration.

For further information please contact the Secretary-General Frances Baskerville fb@cirm.org


Frances Baskerville, Secretary-General, CIRM with Yanging Li Chairman ISO TC8 Ships and Marine Technology, ISO Permanent Representative to the IMO

CIRM/BIMCO Pilot Project on SW Maintenance to begin in 2017

The Draft Standard on Software Maintenance of Shipboard Equipment has been developed by the CIRM/BIMCO Joint Working Group on Software Maintenance, in response to concerns over the lack of an internationally recognised industry standard in place to regulate the maintenance of shipboard software.

The standard was developed with the input of manufacturers, service providers and shipping companies, and an earlier draft was circulated to a group of shipping associations for their review and comment.

CIRM & BIMCO are currently collaborating on a “Software Maintenance of Shipboard Equipment” Pilot Project, the purpose of which is to plan and undertake a small-scale trial implementation of the Draft Standard in order to evaluate the practicality and efficacy of its requirements.

This pilot project will gain in situ experience by having the different stakeholders (known as Roles) perform software maintenance under real circumstances in accordance with the requirements of the Draft Standard.

The pilot project will be used to assess whether the Draft Standard is “fit-for-purpose” by:

  1. Identifying functional content, shortcomings or unnecessary content;
  2. Recommending improvements, which may be tried in practice.

The Pilot Project commenced with a Kick-Off meeting on 1st July 2016, and continued with a Technical Workshop on 11th October 2016. The actual trial implementation is scheduled to begin on 1st January 2017.

The Secretariat will keep CIRM members informed of progress.

CIRM Annual Conference 2017 – details announced!

Dear CIRM Members,

We would like to announce the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore as our Annual Conference venue for 2017 This fine hotel is on the Marina Bay and close to Raffles Place MRT (Subway System).

Having checked all timings and after further investigations we decided that it was better to run our meeting hard up to SEA ASIA, so that many of you can take the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  We’ve negotiated the special rates shown below for 3 days before and also 3 after, which means you can stay at the Fullerton Hotel for the duration of SEA ASIA at that price.

Rooms Single occupancy  S$ (today’s rate) Double S$
Courtyard Room 280  (£156 – EUR 187) currently this room is selling at  S$368 (£205) (EUR 245) 310
Quay Room 330 (£184 – EUR 220) 360
Premier Quay Room (balcony) 370 (£206 – EUR247) 400
Further room categories will be available on request

The conference will start 09.00 Saturday 22nd  –  Monday 24th April 2017.  Sea Asia runs from Tuesday 25th –  Thursday 27th April at the Marina Bay Sands.

(Board Directors are kindly asked to note that a meeting will be held from 12.00 on Friday 21st April at the hotel.)

Our web page for booking the hotel and conference will be available very shortly.

Conference content –send your thoughts to us again please –we received outstanding positive feedback for this year’s conference in Italy and we would like to repeat that success!

With best wishes


EfficienSea2 Project: a summary

By Andy Winbow, CIRM EfficienSea2 Consultant

Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) – EfficienSea2

The EfficienSea2 project commenced at the beginning of May 2015 and is scheduled to complete at the end of October 2018.

Objectives (Link)

The overall objective is to create and deploy innovative solutions for safer and more efficient waterborne operations. With a total of seven specific objectives all interacting within one framework, the project aims to:

Continue reading EfficienSea2 Project: a summary