Electronic navigation charts the way to safer Straits

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop on e-navigation on April 8, 2019.PHOTO: LAM PIN MIN/FACEBOOK

Source: The Straits Times

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Straits?

Four years ago, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) did just that.

It partnered with Norwegian agencies on the Secure, Efficient and Safe Maritime Traffic Management in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore (Sesame Straits) project to develop new operating concepts for the world’s most congested waterways.

Yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said MPA will launch Sesame Solution II, in partnership with the Sesame consortium.

“Leveraging technology and digitisation, Sesame Solution II will focus on realising automated electronic ship-to-shore reporting services,” he said at the opening of a three-day workshop on e-navigation organised by MPA and the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).

The event was held in conjunction with Singapore Maritime Week.

E-navigation, or the integration of various marine navigation systems electronically, improves the reliability of communications and enhances safety.

MPA is also supporting a research and innovation project by ST Engineering and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*Star) Institute for Infocomm Research, among others, to develop satellite Very High Frequency-based Data Exchange System (VDES) solutions – which allow for real-time, high-bandwidth ship-to-shore communications.

VDES can be used to share predictive analytics on navigational safety with ships at sea, said Dr Lam, noting this can help reduce the risk of vessel collisions.

Yesterday, the International Chamber of Shipping, the Asian Shipowners’ Association, and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations also signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance e-navigation development efforts.

The e-navigation solutions workshop is the first since Singapore’s election to the IALA council in 2018. Said Ms Quah Ley Hoon, MPA chief executive: “Our election into the IALA council has presented more opportunities for us to work closely with key players around the world, and we look forward to collaborating with like-minded partners under the broader framework of the International Maritime Organisation to support the implementation of e-navigation.”

Zhaki Abdullah