HELCOM Shows Support for STM e-Navigation Project

Baltic Sea

By The Maritime Executive 04-04-2018 08:29:47

The 39th meeting of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) in Brussels March 5 adopted a revised recommendation that demonstrated support for the Sea Traffic Management (STM) system. HELCOM wants shipping to decrease the risk of accidents and has identified e-navigation through STM as one of the prime tools for achieving this.

STM connects and updates ships and ports in real time and facilitates efficient information exchange. The system has been developed in three consecutive E.U. projects running from 2010.

Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary of HELCOM, says, “The early results from e-Navigation and STM projects indicate that this is the way forward. We look forward to seeing more results and concrete implementation in the Baltic where almost seven percent of the world’s total goods volume is transported.”

In August last year, the STM Validation project successfully installed the first STM compatible bridge systems, connecting ships with shore based services. The ships equipped were Stena Germanica and two rescue vessels from Swedish Sea Rescue Society: Rescue Märta Collin and Rescue 11-00. Stena Germanica, while on route from Gothenburg to Kiel, automatically shared her route with the two rescue vessels, and at the same time received their routes and displayed them on the ECDIS. The route message format used, developed as a part of the STM Validation project, is transmitted to other ships over ordinary AIS. 

The STM test bed will include 300 ships, 13 ports and at least five shore centers. The STM Validation Project encompasses 39 partners (private, public and academic) from 13 countries and with a total budget of EUR 43 million ($45 million).

HELCOM has also encouraged Baltic governments to be active in upcoming tests and help push ships to use their voyage plan sharing capabilities to further system testing.

The move follows similar support shown by the IMO earlier this year. The progress of STM and its alignment with IMO's e-Navigation strategy was the focus of a presentation to the IMO Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) in February.

“As the probably largest e-Navigation project in the world, the interest was high as expected,” says presenter Ulf Siwe, Communications Officer of the STM Validation project. The delegates were curious and asked many questions: Could you send the presentation? Yes! – Will this affect COLREGs? No! – What services can a bulker with STM on-board use? They can us all STM-enabled services in operations that they would like, e.g. enhanced monitoring in Danish waters, winter navigation in the Baltic, weather optimization and better synchronized arrival information from the 13 ports in the project plus Port of Rotterdam, a new cooperation!

Jon Leon Ervik, Norwegian Coastal Administration and IMO-delegate to NCSR5, said: “STM is an important contributor to the realization of several e-navigation services and solutions. The standards that STM have developed, and are continuing to drive, make the infrastructure for information exchange interoperable. The cooperation between the STM consortium and Norwegian initiatives, like Norway’s Single Window ship reporting system and Sesame 2, enable digital services to be developed faster while making them more coherent. Projects and testbeds like these connect the industry, R&D, users and authorities in the necessary process, taking e-navigation from theory to practical solutions.”