e-navigation is a Strategy developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to increase safety of navigation in commercial shipping through better organization of data on ships and on shore, better data exchange and communication between ships and the ship and shore.

“e-navigation is the harmonized collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information on board and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth to berth navigation and related services for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine environment.”

An input paper to IMO identified that there was a clear need to equip the master of a vessel, and those responsible for the safety of shipping ashore, with modern proven tools to make marine navigation and communications more reliable and thereby reduce errors − especially those with a potential for loss of life, injury, environmental damage and undue commercial costs.

According to the United Kingdom’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, navigational errors and failures, including those of the human element, had been significant in over half of the incidents meriting a full investigation between 2002 and 2005. The input paper also noted that accidents related to navigation continue to occur despite the development and availability of a number of ship- and shore-based technologies that improve situational awareness and decision-making. These include the Automatic Identification System (AIS), Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), Integrated Bridge Systems/Integrated Navigation Systems (IBS/INS), Automatic Radar Plotting Aids (ARPA), radio navigation, Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) systems, Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) and the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS).

It was therefore proposed to add a new item on e-navigation to the work programme of the Sub-Committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV) and also to that on Radio communications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR). The aim was to develop a strategic vision for the utilization of existing and new navigational tools, in particular electronic tools, in a holistic and systematic manner. E-navigation can thereby help reduce navigational accidents, errors and failures by developing standards for an accurate and cost-effective system that would make a major contribution to the IMO’s agenda of safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans.

The last decades have seen huge developments in technology within navigation and communication systems. Sophisticated and advanced technology is developing rapidly. Mariners have never had more technological support systems than today and therefore there is a need to coordinate systems and more use of harmonized standards. Although ships now carry Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSS) and will soon all have reliable Electronic Chart Displays and Information Systems (ECDIS), their use on board is not fully integrated and harmonized with other existing systems and those of other ships and ashore. At the same time it has been identified that the human element, including training, competency, language skills, workload and motivation are essential in today’s world. Administrative burden, information overload and ergonomics are prominent concerns. A clear need has been identified for the application of good ergonomic principles in a well-structured human machine interface as part of the e-navigation strategy.

e navigation underway 2015


Conference 2015

In January 2015 163 delegates from organizations and authorities included IMO gathered on the DFDS ferry M/S Pearl Seaways for the International “e- Navigation Underway 2015” – Conference to discuss the future of e-Navigation. The conclusions of the conference proceedings were as follows: (see the full report on www.e-navigation.net)

  1. e-Navigation must have clear benefits which have to be better communicated.
  2. The focus of e-Navigation in the near future has to be on getting accurate, useful and timely information to the navigating mariner.
  3. There is a need for a functional relationship between industry provision and the regulatory framework to reap the benefits of e-Navigation.
  4. The Maritime Cloud is moving from conceptual to development phase in various regions through demonstration projects.
  5. The conference recognised the five main solutions from the Strategic Implementation Plan and agreed that the future development of e-Navigation must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based and clear to all stakeholders.
  6. e-Navigation should reduce the workload of the mariner by automating routine tasks, allowing the mariner to focus on situational awareness and the main task of navigating.
  7. The risk of cyber security issues should be considered in the implementation of e-Navigation.
  8. Successful national-level training awareness models should be replicated and should including basic computer literacy.

It was made clear that IALA will consider the following Conference conclusions and identify any appropriate actions required, thus there are no associated Recommendations.

Benefits for users and stakeholders

On a global level e-navigation will:

  • Standardize bridge design that globally enhances the opportunity to work cross-border, improves efficiency in training and reduces material cost. Similarities between nations and vessels would also increase efficiency and improve safety
  • Reduce barriers of trade through reduction of local solutions and bureaucracy
  • Reduce the risk of accidents and incidents

For Coastal states, Flag states and Port states e-navigation will:

  • Improve efficiency in training, certification and supervision
  • Improve situational awareness by providing easy access to standard and reliable information
  • Improve efficiency in supervision, coordination, control, as well as coordination and information
  • Reduce the risk of accidents and incidents through efficient use of VTS services

For branches, organizations and industry e-navigation will:

  • Provide flexibility with regards to training and rotation as standardization would lead to a more efficient market for standardized bridge products
  • Simplify reporting and thereby reducing the workload for operations
  • Improve safety for own fleet
  • Improve situational awareness for bridge personnel and thereby improving the speed and efficiency of decision making
  • Increase navigational safety in VTS regulated areas
  • Provide a direction for product development to a wide market
  • Provide opportunity for new products and solutions

For ship borne users e-navigation will:

  • Simplify daily work and training
  • Improve human-machine interface, usability, familiarity and navigational safety
  • Improve time-saving and efficiency on board by providing easier access to information, thereby improving the response time/problem solving abilities of bridge personnel
  • Improved navigational safety by reducing the administrative workload
  • Improve confidence in the use of navigational equipment
  • Enhance the quality, accuracy and reliability of information, thereby improving situational awareness and navigational safety
  • Provide easy access to need-to-know information in a user friendly single window
  • Improve familiarity with systems through standardization;
  • Improve service and safety in VTS-regulated areas by providing easy access to available services and warnings
  • Reduce bureaucracy and thereby support more efficient use of bridge resources
  • Reduce the risk of accidents

(Sources. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-Navigation, http://www.e-navigation.net/uploads/e-Navigation%20Underway/e-Navigation%20Underway%202015%20Report%2020150202.pdf)

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