IHO is implementing the S-100 standard and related changes as part of IMO’s e-navigation Strategy Implementation Plan
Introducing the S-100 standard for universal navigational data represents the largest change in e-navigation since IMO’s ECDIS carriage requirements came into effect.
S-100 is part of IMO’s e-navigation Strategy Implementation Plan that requires maritime services to conform with the new standard. S-100 implementation will continue during this decade and will require new standards for electronic navigational charts (ENCs), hydrographic data, digital products and ECDIS performance to be adopted.
Comité International Radio-Maritime (CIRM)* president and Sperry Marine managing director James Collett says S-100 is a range of digital products and transfer standards that will broaden the range of e-navigation and improve interoperability between products and services.
“S-100 represents the biggest change to ECDIS since the introduction of the ECDIS carriage requirements,” he tells Smart Navigation 2021. “We will see S-101 adopted as the new standard for ENCs to meet the chart carriage requirement.”
This is not just a single new ENC standard, but the development of new protocols and standards across e-navigation.
The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has set out an S-100 implementation decade, from 2020 to 2030, during which the standards will be finalised, then production and distribution of the data products will get under way.
“The true benefit of this is a much wider range of e-navigation standards together with in-built interoperability between the standards,” says Mr Collett.
The IHO has targeted substantive geographic coverage of S-101 standard ENCs to be available in 2024, which generates a considerable challenge to hydrographic offices and regulators worldwide.
“However, much work remains for the IHO to finalise these standards,” says Mr Collett, “and IMO will need to revise the ECDIS performance standards for S-101 to be adopted.” Completion of this last task may be delayed by the impact of Covid-19 on IMO’s work programmes.
However, it will be worthwhile as introducing S-100 and the related standards over the next few years will help address issues shipping companies and navigators have highlighted.
“As a result, the S-100 product specifications offer the promise of addressing some key issues that mariners have today,” says Mr Collett.
As an example, S-102 covering bathymetric surfaces defines a standard for high-definition bathymetric data that has the potential to allow mariners a much finer selection of contours when setting a safety contour on the ECDIS.
The S-104 standard for water level information for surface navigation “offers the possibility of integrating tidal adjustment much more tightly into the ECDIS,” Mr Collett explains.
CIRM members are closely watching these developments, as they will have a profound impact on products and services coming in 2022 and beyond. They are particularly interested in standards developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) concerning data exchanges. This includes IEC 63173-2, which defines a standard for secure communication between ship and shore (SECOM), an essential part of e-navigation.
SECOM is expected to be published in 2022 with its first use with IEC 63173-1, the recently published new standard for route exchange.
Mr Collett explains IEC 63173-1, also known as S-421, defines a protocol based on IHO’s S-100 universal hydrographic data model (adopted by IMO in 2011 for navigation-related information exchange).
“E-navigation is dependent on the ability to transfer data securely,” says Mr Collett, “so the finalisation of IEC 63173-2 is of particular interest to CIRM members.”
ECDIS design and performance could change in the coming years due to the introduction of this IEC standard.
“The European Commission has proposed that IMO’s ECDIS performance standards are revised to mandate new installations of ECDIS to implement IEC 63173-1 and IEC 63173-2 for ship-shore and shore-ship communication in support of voyage planning and execution,” explains Mr Collett.
CIRM also expects the IEC 62288 standard edition 3 to be published in 2022, which is the test standard for IMO’s requirements for the presentation of navigation-related information on shipborne navigational displays.
This accounts for the amendment of IMO resolution Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).191(79) by resolution MSC.466(101). “It implements the standardisation of user interface design for navigation equipment” says Mr Collett, as defined in IMO’s SN.1/Circ.243.
“This important development will result in additional standardisation of navigational displays by defining a wider range of icons, symbols, terms, abbreviations and grouping of information,” he says.
Also significantly enhanced in the revised standard is the presentation of information derived from AIS application specific messages (ASM), such as those that provide meteorological and hydrographical information.
It will also enhance standards for aids to navigation (AtoNs) such as the new mobile AtoNs being defined by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities.
“The current situation is that some administrations are transmitting AIS ASMs but the information, while received by a vessel, is not necessarily presented on the navigational displays,” comments Mr Collett. “It is hoped the improved standardisation of presentation of AIS ASMs will improve this situation.”
Among all this turmoil in e-navigation and standards development, CIRM members are developing new navigation products for smarter navigation, better connected ships and further decision support for navigators.
Sperry Marine continues to innovate by introducing connected and secure digital products to share data and insights across the bridge and with shore managers.
The centrepiece of these efforts is VisionMaster Net, a fully connected integrated bridge system, which Sperry Marine is rolling out to customers and partners across various market segments.
“We are also continuing to expand our range of services that support safe navigation by securely connecting the back and front of the bridge,” says Mr Collett.
“Our Connected ECDIS service supports improved cyber risk management by removing the need for USB memory devices when transferring electronic chart data.”
This enables vessels to update navigation charts digitally, with data passing through Sperry Marine’s Secure Maritime Gateway cyber security system.
“This provides a high degree of operational flexibility and a convenient means of performing chart updates with cyber security that exceeds IEC standards, with no risk of infection from USB sticks,” says Mr Collett. For voyage planning, Sperry Marine has developed the SperrySphere platform with a growing number of optimisation applications.
“We have a rolling programme of service additions to our back of bridge SperrySphere platform, including partnerships that reduce administration associated with chart updates and route planning with improved cyber security,” says Mr Collett.
* Mr Collett was elected president of CIRM in May 2021. CIRM is working on developing standards for interoperability and supporting regulatory development. It is dedicated to developing and sharing global standards for shipborne electronic equipment and systems.