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

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.