The 97th session of Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 97) took place at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London (the United Kingdom) from 21 to 25 November, 2016. Among other issues, the session examined MSC 97/19/9 document, presented by Ukraine and drawn up by NU «ОМА». The document suggests a revision of resolutions such as A.817 (19) and MSC. 232 (82) on the standarts of Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) to provide additional ECDIS connections to communication equipment (including bidirectional connection with VHF DSC controller). It is necessary to simplify the addressed VHF for navigators and effectiveness enhancement of digital selective call (DSC). M.V. Miyusov, the Rector of NU «OMA», who represented the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) was directly involved in the session’s work.
For many years, VHF DSC, which are an important part of GMDSS, have not been working properly. For this reason, DSC is not used for the addressed VHF targets due to the complexity of the user interface. Several attempts have been made to improve it, but all efforts have been unsuccessful. Ukraine offers a radically new approach to improve the DSC user interface. The suggested innovation is based on the integration of communication equipment with ECDIS-AIS system, developed at Marine Radio Communication Department of NU «ОМА». Component parts of this system are protected by two patents of Germany. Thus, this system can be implemented within the framework of the existing conventional equipment and greatly simplifies and expedites the procedure of DSC VHF radio communication. The problem is that the connection with DSC is not provided in the existing ECDIS, that’s why it is necessary to revise the ECDIS standards. Financial expenses on the practical implementation of this innovation are minimal, involving only the ECDIS software development and the ECDIS standards in connection with VHF DSC controller. Together with the obvious advantages, provided by connection of ECDIS-AIS system with DSC controller, this integration fully complies with the IMO principles of E-navigation concept.
The idea of Ukraine’s proposal is reflected in the following documents: COMSAR 14/7, COMSAR 14/WP.5 (paragraph 5.2), COMSAR14/17 (paragraphs 12.10, 12.15, 12.15.3), COMSAR 15/INF.3 (page 3), COMSAR 14/WP.6 (paragraph 50.14), NAV 59/12/2, MSC 94/18/2, NCSR 1/17, NCSR 1/13, NCSR 3/INF.15. The discussions’ results of documents with the delegations’ representatives of IMO Members of States and observer organizations, comments and suggestions were taken into account in the preparation of document MSC 97/19/9.
While discussing the document, the delegations expressed their strong and unanimous support for the main intention of this proposal related to the effectiveness enhancement of VHF DSC, through its integration with other navigational equipment on the bridge. However, the issue of revising the IMO ECDIS standards in isolation from the other targets of E-navigation, considered by IMO within the framework of the integrated communication systems and integrated navigation systems was not supported.
MSC decided that work should continue under 188.8.131.52 direction (additional modules to the revision of Standards for Integrated Navigation Systems (INS) (Resolution MSC.252 (83) relating to the bridge’s harmonization and display design). MSC invites Ukraine to submit a document to the NCSR 4 for further discussions in the context of the above-mentioned field.