European project concludes three years of maritime digitalisation

As the EU-funded digitalisation project EfficienSea2 draws to a close, the partners share research, digital solutions and more online. The project has worked to digitalise the maritime world by developing both physical and digital communications infrastructure.

For the past three years, the EU-funded project EfficienSea2 has strived to “create and implement innovative and smart solutions for efficient, safe and sustainable traffic at sea” by focusing on global collaboration and more use of shared IT-standards in maritime digitalisation.

Today, the project is completed and conclusions have been made on EfficienSea2’s work on the Maritime Connectivity Platform (MCP), the VHF Data Exchange System (VDES), Port Reporting Model and the many different digital services for end-users.

Christopher Saarnak, Project Leader of EfficienSea2 and Senior Adviser at the Danish Maritime Authority, explains:

“The more than 50 deliverables we have uploaded is a testament to the project’s success and the wide range of real life progress we have made during EfficienSea2. Our partners are all starting to exploit the results and in the coming years, when private industry, authorities and international organisations get together to work on maritime digitalisation EfficienSea2 is a natural place to look for inspiration and tools,” he says.

Maritime Connectivity Platform will be brought forward
From the beginning of EfficienSea2, the MCP (then; the Maritime Cloud) was hailed as the innovation centrepiece of the project. Since, it has gone from being an idea about a digital maritime communications framework into being a usable platform for sharing and finding trusted services.

In close partnership with the Korean SMART Navigation Project – which will take on a leading coordinating role with the MCP in the future – and the Swedish STM Validation project, MCP has been taken to a level of maturity, where it is used by stakeholders both inside and outside of the involved projects when testing digital solutions. Many of the partners in EfficienSea2 plans to keep supporting the ambitions of behind MCP in the future.

You can read a lot more and find the different deliverables – or reports – on the MCP on EfficienSea2’s website under “Maritime Connectivity Platform”.

VDES can provide connectivity
In order to achieve a connected maritime world, EfficienSea2 also looked at the physical infrastructure connecting ships today. The work done has covered everything from how the systems on board each ship exchanges data to how space weather has the potential to disrupt communications during solar storms.

Tests have also been completed on the VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) in Fehmarn Belt with promising results by Cobham SATCOM.

The work on both VDES and on board architecture is expected to continue a standardisation process through international organisations such as IALA and IEC.

You can read more and find deliverables from the work under Communication Channels on the EfficienSea2 website.

You can also watch the interview done with Richard Doherty, Deputy Secretary General at Cirm, at EfficienSea2’s final conference.

Services and platforms on a global scale
Followers of the EfficienSea2 project will also have noticed the development done on the map-based web platform BalticWeb. For the EfficienSea2 project, it has served as a demonstration platform for the many end-user services tested and demonstrated by the partners. Many of end-user services have also been tested by real mariners with assistance from experts in Human-machine interaction.

These services have been created with an emphasis on standardisation and harmonization, and the EfficienSea2-partners have been able to develop many of them using the IHO S-100 Standard for hydropgraphic data. The focus on standardisation makes it easier for service providers worldwide to benefit from the work done on the individual services.

At the end of the project services available on BalticWeb include, but are not limited to, Weather on Route, Maritime Safety Information, Under Keel Clearance and a new scheme for easier reporting to VTS centres. Some services are available for all users, while others require an authenticated user in the MCP.

The platform has also been expanded to Ghanaian Waters and an Asia-Pacific version is currently under development based on the open-source development done in Efficiensea2. On the website you can read more about the platforms for services under “Platforms for services” and find information and deliverables about end user services on EfficienSea2’s websites.

BIMCO sets out course for port reporting
The final focus of EfficienSea2 has been to lessen the administrative burdens mariners are faced with on a daily basis. BIMCO has led work looking into how reporting from ship to shore could be simplified and partners have created the Maritime Reporting Model able to reduce the administrative workload for masters with 80 percent.

The Maritime Reporting Model is already available through the MCP. Standardisation work on port reporting is being undertaken by EfficienSea2-partners in order to ensure, that mariners can focus on steering the ship rather than on administrative work.

You can read more about the work and deliverables produced in order to reduce administrative burdens on EfficienSea2’s website under “End-user services”

Work will be carried on
As a project under Horizon 2020’s Research and Innovation programme, EfficienSea2 has worked on solutions at very different maturity-levels. Some, such as Navigational Warnings and route exchange are operational, while others have merely been researched.

The feature that all EfficienSea2 solutions share, explains Christopher Saarnak, is that work on them will be continued:

“Every partner has made specific plans for how they are going to exploit their participation in EfficienSea2. It is extremely encouraging to see that our partners in the private sector see a commercial viability in one solution or another from this project. Looking at it overall, practically everything begun by EfficienSea2 will continue in capable hands,” he ends.