Three new maritime e-navigation initiatives announced

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop on e-navigation on April 8, 2019. PHOTO: LAM PIN MIN/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Straits?

Four years ago in 2015, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) did just that.

It partnered with various Norwegian agencies on the Secure, Efficient and Safer Maritime Traffic Management in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (Sesame Straits) project to develop new operating concepts for the world's most congested waterways.

On Monday (April 8), Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min announced that MPA will launch Sesame Solution II, in partnership with the Sesame consortium.

"Leveraging technology and digitisation, Sesame Solution II will focus on realising automated electronic ship-to-shore reporting services," he said.

Dr Lam was speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop on e-navigation organised by MPA and the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), held in conjunction with Singapore Maritime Week.

E-navigation - or the integration of various marine navigation systems electronically - brings many benefits, he noted.

"It can improve the reliability of marine communications and enhance maritime safety, which would translate to fewer human errors, injuries and loss of lives," he said, noting that e-navigation can also facilitate the exchange of information.

Dr Lam announced that MPA is also supporting a research and innovation project by ST Engineering and the Institute for Infocomm Research, among others, to develop VHF-based Data Exchange System (VDES) solutions - which allow for real-time, high-bandwidth ship-to-shore communications.

VDES can be used to share predictive analytics on navigational safety with ships at sea, he noted.

"This can help improve their situational awareness when sailing through traffic hot spots, and hence reduce the risk of vessel collisions," he added.

Dr Lam also announced the signing of an agreement between the International Chamber of Shipping, the Asian Shipowners' Association and the European Community Shipowners' Association.

"I am confident that this new partnership will add significant value to the various e-navigation development efforts, and prepare the international maritime community for future adoption of e-navigation solutions," he said.

The workshop supporting the operationalisation of e-navigation solutions is the first since Singapore's election to the IALA Council in 2018.

MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon said: "As one the world's busiest hub ports with some 1,000 vessels in our port at any one time, Singapore places a very strong emphasis on navigational safety and continually invests in efforts and innovation in this area.

"Our election into the IALA Council has presented more opportunities for us to work closely with key players around the world, and we look forward to collaborating with like-minded partners under the broader framework of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) to support the implementation of e-navigation."

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