HELCOM identifies e-Navigation and STM as prime tools for improving safety at sea

HELCOM identifies e-Navigation and STM as prime tools for improving safety at sea
SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

The Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) has identified e-navigation through Sea Traffic Management as a prime tool for reducing the risk of accidents and improving safety at sea.

Early last month, HELCOM adopted the revised Recommendation 34E/2, which covers safety and navigation at sea. The Recommendation states that: “Further testing and development of the concept of pro-active route planning as well as other e-navigation solutions to enhance safety of navigation and protection in the marine environment in the Baltic Sea Region.”

The revised Recommendation includes further testing of concrete services, such as maritime safety information, route optimisation, ice routing, port call synchronisation, and facilitated reporting.

According to Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary of HELCOM, the Sea Traffic Management project (STM) and other e-Navigation projects are essential tools for improving safety at sea. She says: “We look forward to seeing more results and concrete implementation in the Baltic, where almost 7% of the world’s total goods volume is transported.”

STM is a concept that aims to create a safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly maritime sector. STM has been developed during EU-financed research and innovation projects with a number of European partners within academia, governmental bodies and the industry. STM includes a number of projects that aim to assist on-board and on-shore personnel with decision-making, based on real-time information. STM services and projects include those for route optimisation, enhanced monitoring, port call synchronisation, and more as a way to reduce accidents by 50%, improve voyage costs by 10%, and lower fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 7%.

To improve safety further, HELCOM is encouraging the Baltic governments to be active in coming tests and urges ships to use their voyage plan sharing capabilities to increase the size of the test base.

Magnus Sundström, Project Manager of the STM Validation project says: “This revision is a natural step forward from the last recommendation, which was more general in its nature. Now we have seen the outcomes and partial results of several e-Navigation projects in the Baltic Area: e.g. ENSI, MONALISA 2.0, EfficienSea II and STM Validation. I believe that the next revision will have even stronger recommendations on implementation in the Baltic countries covering the whole Baltic Sea.”