International Journal
on Marine Navigation
and Safety of Sea Transportation
Volume 2
Number 3
September 2008
Vision of the Decision Support Model on Board
of the Vessel with Use of the Shore Based IT
L. Bibik & A. Krolikowski
Maritime Office Gdynia, Gdynia, Poland
K. Czaplewski & D. Duda
Polish Naval Academy, Gdynia, Poland
ABSTRACT: The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its 81st session decided to include, in the work
programmes of the NAV and COMSAR Sub-Committees, a high priority item on "Development of an
e–navigation strategy”. E-navigation is meant to integrate existing and new electronic navigational tools (ship
and shore based) into one comprehensive system that will contribute to enhanced navigational safety and
security while reducing the workload of the mariner (navigator). This paper describes present IT created to
support navigational and administrative activities related to vessel movement and cargo transhipment.
Direction of development of existing systems is drafted with reference to E-Navigation concept. Information
sets available for the vessel in Polish Sea Areas are grouped.
Poland is currently implementing its National
SafeSeaNet System compliant with Vessel Traffic
Monitoring and Information System (VTMIS)
Directive 2002/59/EC. The system consist of two
main software components i.e. MarSSIES (Maritime
Safety and Security Information Exchange System)
and PHICS (Polish Harbour Information and Control
PHICS is an administrative system designed to
facilitate specific duties of maritime administration
like: supervision over training centres or seafarers
certificates, exchange of FAL forms. It is also a basic
system for electronic exchange of documents con-
nected to vessel arrival and transhipment of cargoes.
MarSSIES is a basic operational platform for
maritime administration and allied services. It
presents integrated navigational and operational data
from different sources on ECDIS background. It is
also a National system for data exchange with
European SafeSeaNet, presenting data of all vessels
and their cargoes within EU waters.
MarSSIES is a comprehensive IT tool used for
the purpose of information exchange between shore
based authorities which duties involve activities at
Sea. Model of the system was based on the existing
procedures of information exchange. Core of the
system consist of Event Model which enables
simultaneous notification of logged users.
Fig. 1. MarSSIES Display at VTS Centre
Event is a pre-defined set of information or data.
Every authorised user defines types of events and
describes procedures for each of them (event support
mechanism). New events can be initiated by
operators or automatically as a result of readings
received from other sensors, databases. When new
event occurs, it is being processed by the system in
accordance with procedure, e.g. system notifies
specified receivers, waits for registration of
appropriate decisions, etc.
MarSSIES presents information compliant with
following standards:
IALA V-128 Recommendations
Navigator on board nowadays may use various
sources of navigational data to support his decision
making process during “deep sea” vessel passage.
Radar, ECDIS, AIS, meteorological are among those
sources of data.
Officer of the Watch (OOW) is not always able to
obtain detailed picture of the navigational situation
on the approach to its destination though. Local
vessel activities, safety and security measures, cargo
operation at the berth may cause delays in time of
arrival and extend the time of vessel presence in
restricted waters.
Data form National SafeSeaNet is generally
available for mariners thanks to the services
provided by VTS or harbour masters or via the
internet for authorised users. Current model is far
from general idea of Vessel Traffic Management or
E-Navigation. This is mainly because of communi-
cation restrictions in range or excessive costs of
internet at sea. Some of the information processed
also have to be limited only to authorised users
because of its commercial or security nature.
Because of all above mentioned conditions
information from shore based sources (VTS, AIS,
Radar, Cargo Management Systems, administrative or
operational databases) should be brake down into
categories with priorities for ship in restricted waters.
Categorisation may facilitate future
communication means when referring to cost-benefit
analysis and it may also facilitate decision making
process on board of the vessel as the OOW will only
use limited set of the most important and valuable
Table No.1 illustrates information available for the
vessel on the MarSSIES platform. The information
presented are generally available on board, though
idea of the MarSSIEs is that the vessel itself would
be a data source as well.
Table 1. Information available MarSSIES
As it was presented different data is available on
board. Even with present state-of-the-art communi-
cation and positioning technologies on board it is
always a navigator (man) who is to make a decision.
Decision making process is not only related to
information available but also to perceptiveness and
analytical skills. That is why proper tools are
designed to support decision making process. Those
tools are aimed to present to the navigator the most
important data in a very clear an unambiguous
With present state of data that may be transferred
from ship to shore (Table 1) problem of validity and
Type of data Source
Navigational Warninig Hydrographic Office VHF, Navtex
ENC Hydrographic Office Sattelite
Radar VTS VTS virtual AIS targets
via AIS
AIS, VTS tracking data VTS MarSSIES
Vessel Radar (NMEA),
local Radar
Network MarSSIES
Cargo data Local databases/vessel MarSSIES
Local database SafeSeaNet MarSSIES
Safety Navigational data
importance become one of he most important. For
example information on dredging operations outside
the ship safety domain may not be as important as
information on pilot boarding time change.
Because of the range of information available
ashore and required for the vessel to enhance its
safety and security data priorities should be defined.
Next step and problem to be solved is to find a
mathematical formula which will choose from theo-
reticaly infinite set (A) representing data available
ashore with relation to the set (B) of priorities given
to transfer particular element of set (A) for the ves-
Fig. 2. Processing of data to be displayed
It is assumed that safety of vessel is a function of
a few parameters [2][3]:
P is a navigational safety factor
A defines dimensions of the area
S defines parameters of the vessel
Ndefines parameters of positioning systems
H defines hydrometeorological conditions
M indicates maneuvering parameters in relation to
human factor
I defines traffic density
R defines parameters of traffic measures
When searching for the mathematical evaluation
of priorities of data to be displayed authors are
focusing on positioning systems parameters (N) as
well as on traffic density and traffic measures (I, R).
Traffic measures will not only relate to
availability of separation schemes with efficient
depth and width but also to navigational aids and
services provided by shore based authorities.
Intention is to check in the future weather general
decision function (Robust Sequence Estimation) may
be applied to process data and to give priorities for
each type of data mentioned.
During the first session of the E-NAV committee
working definition of the E-Navigation was drafted.
It states that: “e-Navigation is the collection,
integration and display of maritime information
onboard and ashore by electronic means to enhance
berth-to-berth navigation and related services, safety
and security at sea and protection of the marine
It is expected that E-Navigation will enhance
safety, security, protection of the environment,
national interests, and SAR activities.
Following objectives were drafted by the
committee members in relation to E-Navigation.
Provide a holistic or systems approach to shore
and onboard navigation activity.
Improve the ‘man machine interface’ and provide
clear information to a mariner so that he may
make informed decisions, correctly interpret his
situational display, and safely navigate his vessel
to reduce collisions and groundings.
Harmonise and standardise information and
information transfer (ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore),
equipment interfaces (i.e., ‘plug and play
approach), and functionality whilst maintaining
transparency and being receptive to advances in
Make recommendations on emergency mana-
gement and fallback techniques, including the use
of traditional navigation techniques, lights,
beacons, radar plotting, etc. in case of failures.
Prioritise information on the e-navigation display
and adapt to changing situations.
Allow simple, efficient communication ship/ship,
ship/shore, shore/ship and shore/shore, making
for effective teamwork (e.g., sharing tactical
display, simplifying & co-ordinating reporting
Improve traffic efficiency and port risk mana-
Contribute to an optimum mix of AtoNs.
Improve situational awareness to both the vessel
and shore.
Expand VTS capabilities, including coastal and
Vessel Se
Shore based data
Cargo data -
of data
Formula to be obtained
Mitigate information overload, do not create
additional tasks, but recognize OOW will need to
The components of e-navigation were defined in the
following way:
Ship and shore data: E-Ship + E-VTS = E-NAV.
Navigation-related services, systems, and
Networks / data exchange.
Consolidated reports.
Training / Human elements.
Interfaces (ECDIS/GIS, Radar, INS/IBS, VTS,
Displays and technical protocols.
Navigational messages.
Systems Components.
GNSS and terrestrial navigation systems/RNAV,
INMARSAT and other satellite communi-
cations systems,
Visual (ECS),
Voice recognition,
Portable Pilot Units,
Assisted docking,
Virtual AtoN,
Met/Hydro sensors (e.g., ice, fog, tidal),
Shore initiated info.
Three-dimensional control (automatic, shipborne,
and shore-based.)
Practically MarSSIES may provide its users most
of the data listed in the E-Navigation concept and
additionally can provide an effective and cost limited
voice communication using VOIP communication
Additionally its interface and event mechanism
allow it user to add as many additional information
(in text or layer form as possible). Overall content
may be sometime ambiguous or may be outside
perception of the VTS operator that is why authors will
seek for possible solution in further publications.
Bearing in mind that only vessels of maritime
administration and allied services may use this
Web- based system there are no comments from
commercial mariners concerning data content.
Maritime administration is interested in the most
effective thus most environmental friendly shipping
while commercial users are usually limited by time
and costs.
Mechanism of display and control of data priorities
will certainly meet the needs of increasing number of
data sources to be presented onboard and ashore in
the E-Navigation systems. It may also reduce future
costs of the data transmission between shore and
When referring to the limitations of the E-Navi-
gation concept one of the issues raised was a existing
man/machine interface limitations and technical
In case of the MarSSIES software Maritime
Administration together with allied services are
trying to find a consensus between the scope of data
and possible communication means, network
bandwidth as well as the content of the displayed
That is why further work to elaborate a solution
for prioritising data will not only benefit coastal
administrations but also mariners equipped with
E-Navigation software.
Parallel to ongoing process of defining E-
Navigation, international bodies should seek for a
solution of E-Navigation tools on board of vessels.
Software components of those tools would be able to
process data with use of developed “prioritising
Czaplewski K., Pozycjonowanie z zastosowaniem Interaktyw-
nych Struktur Nawigacyjnych, Skrypt AMW, Gdynia 2004.
Gucma S., Inżynieria Ruchu Morskiego, Szczecin, Okrętowni-
ctwo i Żegluga 2001.
Gucma S., Optymalizacja parametrów dróg wodnych. Zeszyty
Naukowe nr 53, WSM, Szczecin 1997.
IALA E-NAV Concepts summed up by Chairman and Vice
Chairman e-NAV1- output -04.doc
IALA E-NAV Specifications for E-Navigation Fundamental
Elements - e-NAV1 WG1 comments to NAV CG.doc
Internal Maritime Office’s documentation of the MarSSIES
project development.