STM Project Starts Work on S-100 Interoperability


By The Maritime Executive 06-11-2019 03:03:17

The E.U. Sea Traffic Management (STM) project is working on further interoperability for navigation systems, and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has approved a new work item SECOM – Secure Exchange and COMmunication of S-100 based products. 

The goal is to standardize how data is exchanged. SECOM aims to support all S-100 products that define what data is exchanged, making it a cornerstone for exchange of maritime information.

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 2010-2018. 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). The first five shore centers that have been STM-enabled are Gothenburg, Sweden, the Danish national surveillance center, the VTS in Horten and Kvitsöy, Norway and VTS Tarifa in Spain overlooking traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar. Saab, Navicon, Kongsberg and Wärtsilä are the four suppliers of STM-enabled systems.

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. 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, was transmitted to other ships over ordinary AIS. 

The International Hydrographic Organization's S-100 digital data transfer standard supports electronic navigation charts, digital nautical publications and supporting symbology, all of which will be part of e-Navigation in the future. The IEC work item relates to the Voyage Information Service, developed within STM. The goal with SECOM is a standardized interface and cyber security measures for transfer of S-100 products.

SECOM is an exchange layer that guarantees that different services and software exchange data in the exact same way. For manufacturers of maritime systems this eliminates the need to support several different service interfaces for different services and products. If a service or product works with one actor using it, it will work with all actors.

SECOM, if successful, will be a cornerstone for interoperability of the same magnitude as standard data formats and a common authentication method.


A Maritime Connectivity Platform Consortium (MCP) was established and a Platform launched during the conference e-Navigation Underway 2019 in February this year. The MCP is an open source, vendor-neutral digital maritime domain to bring common internet standards to maritime navigation and transportation systems. 

The platform has been evolving for a number of years. Around 2015, development escalated significantly, when three large projects collaborated on the common use and further development of the technology. These were the E.U. projects EfficienSea2, the STM Validation project and the SMART Navigation project funded by the Korean government. During these projects an MCP test bed was established, which now has been running for several years, and now nearly 100 organizations have signed up to the platform.