The demise of the Erika and the Prestige projects resulted in a number of initiatives that have been introduced on the European stage.
The Erika packages introduced a number of measures to remedy the safety situation in European waters. However, it has long been recognised that a more pro-active approach to the management of vessel traffic in European waters, and the enhancement of services provided to shipping in general, will further the promotion of a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly platform for maritime transport.
In many respects technology is already very advanced, and this has been proven in limited demonstrations in recent years. Vessel Traffic Management (VTM), including Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) coastal networks, has been successfully developed for local and regional use to varying degrees, however Pan-European operational systems require further development and integration in order to become a reality.
Whilst there is a recognised need for a more pro-active management regime of vessel traffic in all EU waters, there is also a recognised need to achieve this without increasing the burden placed upon the vessel itself, i.e. through increased reporting. In fact it has long been understood that the burden on the master should decrease from present day levels in order to allow the master to concentrate on the primary function, i.e. that of the safe navigation of the vessel.
The framework for seamless reporting as a basis for 'One Stop Shopping' is available, but national and international efforts are required to bring all stakeholders and actors together to build up and link all elements required to establish a Pan-European system.
The European Commission (EC) is currently promoting the development of E-Maritime, a meeting of services and systems, in response to the need for a more transparent and harmonized approach within the maritime sector in general in order to secure its position as a leading transport mode. It goes further than the present meaning of E-Navigation through exploring ways in which the whole transport chain may become involved and benefit. It may be said that the whole E-Maritime concept encompasses E-Navigation as a component, but not necessarily vice versa.
The EC co-funded project 'Maritime Navigation and Information Services' (MarNIS) goes a long way to supporting the EU in their ambitions through providing a substantial and valuable contribution to the E-Maritime concept.
MarNIS focused in its main objectives on:
- improvement of safety and the protection of the environment;
- improvement of security;
- improvement of efficiency and reliability;
- improvement of the economic aspects of sea transport;
- improvement of the legal and organizational aspects.
The research activities of the project MarNIS was divided into five thematic areas:
- Cluster 1 deals with Maritime Information Management concerning preventive information services to support traffic safety and efficiency;
- Cluster 2 addresses the supporting technology for navigation, communication and information systems to improve safety and efficiency of maritime traffic;
- Cluster 3 discusses the safety - remedial measures as well as the information services needed for preventive and remedial actions;
- Cluster 4 deals with Information services for the efficiency of port operations and security in ports, as well as the Preventive and Remedial traffic information services in the port environment;
- Cluster 5 dealing with on board information services for improved safety, security and efficiency of traffic and transport.
An overall harmonised approach in a complex project like MarNIS was only possible on the condition that several common activities in the clusters were coordinated on the project level. These coordinating activities were called horizontal activities. This was especially true for activities such as:
- Legal scans, preparation of directives and policy recommendations: The results of the different clusters will have to result in conclusions, recommendations and proposals for new legislative initiatives and directives;
- Systems architecture and standardisation: Responsible for the safeguarding of a harmonised system architecture including development and use of information standards throughout the project;
- Test bed: The test bed will be developed to ensure the correct translation from user requirements and the research results, into technical solutions according to the defined standards and architecture;
- Human factors: The clusters contain activities in the area of Human factors. Every cluster will deal with Training & Education and/or Human-Machine Interface issues;
- Demonstrations: Demonstration of integrated solutions is one of the key issues of MarNIS. Demonstrations will merge and adequately mix technologies, skills and knowledge that are developed throughout the project;
- Assessment: The assessment approach unites cost-benefit, societal, legal and technical issues in a flexible framework that guarantees adaptability to the specific characteristics of each service/concept.
MarNIS e-maritime concept focus 2012
- Maritime Operational Services (MOS)
- Single Window/Electronic Port Clearance (EPC)
- MarNIS node and Port Community Systems (PCS)
- MarNIS broad band platform
The MarNIS E-Maritime concept will potentially affect the tasks and responsibilities of the various authorities related to maritime transport and traffic, including not only maritime safety related authorities but also enforcement such as customs and immigration. In order to clarify and support the interaction between all authorities and actors involved a European Maritime Directive, describing the legal structure, is recommended and under development in the project. When developed as a framework Directive there is sufficient flexibility to exploit existing technologies as well as allow for the emergence of new technologies.
Whilst respecting the principle of subsidiarity, a general Directive on maritime transport and traffic will also provide uniform and transparent responsibilities for competent authorities...