International Journal
on Marine Navigation
and Safety of Sea Transportation
Volume 3
Number 2
June 2009
RIS (River Information Services) is a system that
aims at the implementation of river traffic infor-
mation services co-ordinating planning and logistics
of transport.
RIS consists of advanced functions and services
bringing operational advantages (e.g. immediate
navigational decisions) and strategic ones (e.g. re-
sources planning) for its potential users inland
shipping administrations captains, terminal man-
agers or lock operators.
Modern radio-communications and information
technologies are used in inland transport. Ships are
equipped with portable computers which have ac-
cess to the Internet via a mobile telephone network.
Besides, satellite positioning systems, electronic
charts and inland AIS transponders are being devel-
oped and implemented.
Shore installations include radar stations with tar-
get tracking functions and ship reporting systems
with interconnected databases.
Several technological innovations connected with
RIS have been introduced in the sector of inland
navigation [1]:
electronic navigational charts (ENC) for display-
ing information on fairway situation and ship po-
Internet applications and inland ECDIS for mes-
sages for captains,
electronic reporting systems for collecting data on
voyage-related information (ship and cargo),
vessel tracking and locating, such as automatic
identification systems (AIS) for automatic report-
ing of ship’s position.
Functions and objectives of electronic ship reporting
in inland navigation have been developed in line
with the principles which aim to [4]:
facilitate electronic data interchange between rel-
evant authorities of the EU member states and in-
land navigation operators,
use standardized notifications in communications
between a ship and management centre in order
to ensure compliance with mandatory rules in the
adopted standards,
use recognized international lists of codes and
use unique European ship identification numbers.
The tasks of electronic ship reporting in the RIS
system are as follows [3]:
1 Facilitation of data structure transfer in conformi-
ty with adopted EDI (Electronic Data Inter-
change) standards.
2 Exchange of information between inland naviga-
tion partners.
3 Sending dynamic information on a voyage at the
same time to many participants.
4 Consistent use of the UN/EDIFAC standard
(Electronic Data Interchange for Administration,
Commerce and Transport) within the EU, accord-
Electronic Reporting of Ships in the RIS System
A. Lisaj
Maritime University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland
ABSTRACT: This article presents the principles of data transmission and processing in a module of duplex
transmission of messages as required by ship reporting in the RIS (River Information Services) system. Tech-
nical specification of messages intended for ship commanders is analyzed. Data standards in harmonized Riv-
er Information Services on inland waterways are presented. Furthermore, the analysis covers message struc-
tures, encrypting in XML format for electronic reporting by ships.
Finally, the author evaluates the
advantages of introducing the RIS system for the safety of inland vessel traffic and the effect of the system on
environmental protection.
ing to its directive on data transmission proce-
dures UNTDID (United Nations Trade Data In-
terchange Directory)
5 Inland traffic management.
6 Transfer of complete information on locks and
bridges and calamity situation.
7 Loading / unloading management and container
terminal operation monitoring.
8 Border crossing control.
9 Services to passengers of inland ships.
Technical specifications defining the principles for
data transmission of ship reporting in the RIS com-
ply with the relevant EU directive [2].
The directive precisely covers such issues as:
introduction of Standard Message Types (SMT));
criteria and principles for data transmission -
specifications of the message type directory
EDMD (Edition 98.B, recommended by IMO);
specification of the code list (CL);
introduction of data standardization elements
(Trade Data Elements Directory (TDED)).
3.1 Data transmission standards in the RIS system.
In conformity with the EDIFACT standard, data
processing in the RIS system makes use of XML
format (Extended Mark-up Language) [6] in which:
EDIFACT and XML utilize the same data struc-
ture and code list.
presently these versions are being tested:
ebXML, eDocs and BICS 2.0.
3.2 Classifications and code lists in the EDIFACT
The following classifications shall be used in inland
electronic ship reporting [3,6]:
1 Vessel and convoy type
2 Official ship number (OFS)
3 IMO ship identification number (IMO)
4 ERI (Electronic Reporting International) ship
identification number
5 UN Dangerous Goods number (UNDG)
6 International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code
7 United Nations codes for the representation of the
names of countries
8 United Nations code for trade and transport loca-
tions (UN/LOCODE)
9 Fairway section code
10 Terminal code
11 Freight container size and type code (ISO)
12 Container identification code (ISO)
13 Package type code
14 Nature of cargo
The following table (tabl.1) defines the usage of
the messages:
Table 1. RIS function and procedures of the messages
Messages in the procedures
RIS Service and Function Ship-to-authority Authority-to-ship Authority-to-authority
Traffic management ERINOT (VES) ERIRSP ERINOT (PAS)
ERINOT (CAR) Notices to skippers
Calamity abatement ERINOT (VES) ERIRSP ERINOT (PAS)
ERINOT (CAR) Notices to skippers PAXLST
Transport management ERINOT (VES) ERIRSP ERINOT (PAS)
ERINOT (CAR) Notices to skippers CUSCAR, CUSDEC
Statistics ERINOT (VES)
Waterway charges ERINOT (VES) ERIRSP
The following messages shall be used in electron-
ic ship reporting on inland waterways [6]:
1 ERINOT, means “ERI Notification Message”,
message with the following types:
Transport notification from vessel to authority
(identifier “VES”), from ship to shore
Transport notification from carrier to authority
(“CAR”), from shore to shore
Passage notification (“PAS”), from authority to
authority and the following functions to show
what can be expected:
2 ERIRSP, means “ERI Response Message”,
PAXLST, means the “Passenger List Mes-
sage” , including passengers, crew and service
CUSCAR, means the “Customs Cargo Report
CUSDEC, means the “Customs Declaration
The reporting procedure shall always start with
the ERINOT message and send additional data by
the PAXLST, CUSCAR and CUSDEC messages.
3.3 Methods of remote data transmission in
electronic ship reporting
The following communications means have been
proposed for use in message transmission within
electronic ship reporting [5] :
1 VFH radio station.
2 ATIS (Automatic Transmitter Identification Sys-
tem) identifying ship’s calling, e.g. while ap-
proaching a lock, in a computer-based system of
traffic management.
3 inland AIS transponder (Automatic Identification
Navigation messages, with navigation information
for inland skippers (fig.1) about a geographical ob-
ject, have the following information sections [4]:
1 Identification of the message.
2 Fairway and traffic related message.
3 Water level related messages as:
Water level messages;
Least sounded depth - messages;
Vertical clearance - messages;
Barrage status - messages;
Discharge messages;
Regime messages;
Predicted water level - messages;
Least sounded predicted depth - messages;
Predicted discharge - messages.
4 Ice messages.
Electronic ship reporting in the transmission of mes-
sage for ship skippers and inland navigation man-
agement centre enables the RIS system achieve three
basic goals:
1 to enhance the safety of transport - minimize the
number of:
injured persons,
fatal casualties,
untypical situations in a voyage;
2 to make transport efficient:
maximize the capacity of waterways,
maximize the use of ship cargo capacity,
minimize voyage time,
reduce work effort of RIS users,
reduce transport costs,
reduce fuel consumption,
ensure efficient and cost-effective connections
for intermodal transport,
make efficiently operating harbours and termi-
nals accessible;
3 to make transport environment-friendly:
reduce threats to the environment,
reduce pollution.
The development of standardized RIS interfaces
will make it possible to generate wide-range trans-
parent information processes and smooth data ex-
change between all participants of inland navigation.
Fig.1 Structure of the Notices to Skippers
1. Reporting for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports
of the Member States of the Community, Directive
2002/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council
of 18.02.2002.
2. Vessel traffic monitoring and information system on inland
waterways. Directive 2002/59/EC of the European Parlia-
ment and of the Council of 27.06. 2002.
3. Guidelines for planning, implementation and operation of
River Information Services. Official Journal Commission
Directive (EC) no 414/2007 of 13 .03.2007.
4. Technical specifications for ship traffic management on
harmonized River Information Services (RIS) on inland wa-
terways. Official Journal Commission Directive (EC) no
415/2007 of 13.03 2007.
5. Technical specifications including: inland Automatic Iden-
tification System (AIS) and International Standards for
Electronic Ship Reporting in Inland Navigation. Commis-
sion Directive (EC) no 416/2007 of 20.03.2007.
6 Guidelines and Recommendations for River Information
Services United Nations Trade Data Interchange Directory
(UNTDID) for EDIFACT. Official Journal No.5 Commis-
sion Directive TRANS/SC.3.04.2007.