Developing standards for safer navigation

IEC TC supports increased use of electronics for navigation and communication at sea

Safety at sea, always a major concern for seafarers, has made huge advances in the last hundred
years, particularly where navigation and communication systems are
concerned. International Standards for such types of equipment are
prepared by IEC TC (Technical Committee) 80: Maritime navigation
and radiocommunication equipment and systems

State-of-the-art systems to protect
The massive increase in shipping traffic
in recent decades requires, among other
things, new or improved communication
and navigation solutions to maintain or
enhance safety levels. IEC TC 80, set up
in 1980, took on the role of producing
International Standards for maritime
navigation and radiocommunication
equipment and systems in agreement
with IMO (International Maritime
Organization), the specialized UN agency
with responsibility for the safety and
security of shipping and the prevention
of marine pollution by ships.
Ships are technically very sophisticated,
high-value assets and one of the
fundamental trends in the maritime
industry has been an increasing reliance
on electrical and electronic technologies
for navigation and communication.

It’s good to talk
Communication between ships and from
ship to shore is essential for the safety
of navigation as well as for the rescue of
ships and crews in distress.
Communication with ships was actually
the first application of radio at the end
of the 19th century. Only gradually did it
start to be used for distress and safety
purposes. The most famous example is
the wireless distress message sent from
the Titanic on 15 April 1912 using Morse
Morse was phased out 15 years ago
in favour of GMDSS (Global Maritime
Distress and Safety System) a new
system developed by the IMO. GMDSS
uses radio and satellite communication
and equipment that enables ships to
communicate with shore stations from
anywhere at sea and at any time. To
this day, IEC TC 80 has prepared and
published 11 standards covering all
aspects and technologies of GMDSS.
In 1979 the IMO adopted the
International Convention on Maritime

SAR (search and rescue). GMDSS
requirements form part of the
IMO’s SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea)
Convention, making it an essential tool
for SAR.
The IEC 61097 series of standards for
GMDSS is based on IMO resolutions
defining equipment performance
standards for all components of the
system. IMO is constantly reviewing
these and adding new ones as more
requirements are identified, particularly
concerning security and piracy and
increased interest in shipping traffic in
Polar Regions, each of which aspects
poses unique navigational and SAR
Keeping off the rocks
Mariners have always tried to chart their
course to reach their destination safely,
avoiding other ships, natural hazards
such as reefs or treacherous currents
and areas that present a danger for
other reasons (piracy, conflict zones,
disputed waterways, etc.). Electronic
equipment in the form of radars and
sonars was first introduced on naval

ships from the 1930s to provide data
on distance to and from other ships and
shores as well as on navigational depth.
In recent years, the navigation equipment
carried by ships has seen significant
improvements. Ships now carry and
rely upon improved radar equipment
and automatic position fixing provided
by satellite navigation systems. This
year also sees the start of a phased-in
programme for the mandatory carriage
of electronic charts in the form of an
IMO system called ECDIS (Electronic
Chart Display and Information System), a
computer-based navigation information
system that can be used instead of paper
nautical charts and integrates information
from satellites. The first edition of IEC
standards for ECDIS was published in
1998; it is now on its third edition.
The IHO (International Hydrographic
Organization), an intergovernmental
organization representing the
hydrographic community, recently
updated its standard for electronic
navigation charts and will complete work
on the next generation of standards for
electronic navigation chart databases in
the next few years.
No navigation, no communication
without IEC standards
In 1976, the organization known as
Inmarsat (International Maritime Satellite
Organization) was established to provide
emergency maritime communications. A
pioneering role was played by the IMO in
its establishment.
TC 80 prepares and updates
International Standards for Inmarsat,
covering SES (ship earth station) and
EGC (enhanced group call) equipment.
The latter category is capable of
receiving multiple-address messages
and is designed for use in GMDSS
and LRIT (long-range identification and
tracking) applications. These constantly
updated standards enhance and
increase the capabilities of the Inmarsat
element of GMDSS.
All maritime electronic navigation and
communication equipment and systems
like BNWAS (Bridge Navigational Watch
Alarm System), ECDIS, AIS (Automatic
Identification System) or GMDSS,
which play such an important role in
maritime safety, rely on the work of
IEC TC 80 which has produced some
50 International Standards so far, and
continues to work on new ones.


Publicado el enero 30, 2015 en Technical y etiquetado en , , , , , . Guarda el enlace permanente. Deja un comentario.


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