International Journal
on Marine Navigation
and Safety of Sea Transportation
Volume 6
Number 3
September 2012
Data transmission of messages by ship reporting in
the RIS system Management Centre has following
tasks [2.4]:
1 Facilitation of data structure transfer with EDI (
Electronic Data Interchange) 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 EDIFAC standard (Elec-
tronic Data Interchange for Administration)
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.
1.1 The principles of co-operation between the RIS
System Management Centre and an inland VTS
stations [2.7].
General purpose of VTS center is to improve the
safety and efficiency of sea and inland navigation,
safety of life and the protection of the environment
from possible adverse effects of vessel traffic.
A part of these objectives of a Vessel Traffic Ser-
vice include promoting efficient transport and the
collection of data that may be required in order to
evaluate the Vessel Traffic Service.
The benefits of implementing a VTS are that it al-
lows identification and monitoring of vessels, strate-
gic planning of vessel movements and provision of
navigational information and assistance.
It can also assist in reducing the risk of pollution
and coordinating pollution response. The efficiency
of a VTS will depend on the reliability and continui-
ty of communications and on the ability to provide
concise, accurate and unambiguous information.
The quality of accident prevention measures will
depend on the capability of the system to detect de-
veloping dangerous situations and on the ability to
give timely warning of such dangers.
Navigation Data Transmission in the RIS
A. Lisaj
Maritime University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland
ABSTRACT: The paper presents processing and transmission navigation data in inland navigation. Data
transmission of messages by ship electronic reporting in the RIS (River Information Services) system is ana-
lyzed. The principles of reporting data navigation in the RIS Management Centre are defined. Furthermore,
the RIS communication architecture is analyzed. Finally, the author presented new standard BICS 2.0 for
the processing and navigation data transmission in inland navigation.
For inland navigation vessels cooperating with
the RIS Management Centre, there is a need to har-
monize inland VTS through international application
on all inland waterways in a waterway system.
Communication between inland VTS centre and par-
ticipating vessels or between participating vessels
should be limited to information essential to achieve
the objectives of the VTS [1.5].
Communication should be clear, easily under-
stood by of all participants. Standard reports and
phrases should be used when necessary. Where lan-
guage difficulties exist, use should be made of a
common language as determined by the VTS author-
In any VTS message directed to a vessel or ves-
sels it should be made clear whether the message
contains information, advice, warning, or an instruc-
2.1 The RIS Communication Architecture[1.3];
The RIS Architecture consists of seven components:
Reference Model, in which inland shipping and
River Information Services is defined and the RIS
architecture s build;
Organization Architecture, in which the roles
responsible for the use and operation of River In-
formation Services are defined. For the roles that
actually use RIS to strengthen the execution of
their task in inland shipping the intended coopera-
tion is drawn. This cooperation is the basis for the
information and functional architecture.
Information Architecture, in which the infor-
mation exchange coming with the cooperation as
drawn in the organization architecture.
Function Architecture, in which the functions
are derived which have to be performed to actual-
ly make the cooperation work. At this stage these
functions can be performed by the responsible
roles, by those roles supported by an application
or autonomous by a system.
Data Architecture, in which the data is defined
from which the information in the information ar-
chitecture can be build.
Physical Architecture, in which an first example
is given of the way the functions from the func-
tional architecture can be allocated to a system.
Communication Architecture, in which the link
is out between the data and information on the
one hand and the standardised message on the
other hand.
Road Transport
Shipping on Inland
Rail Transport
Maritime Transport
Organisation Architecture
Reference Model &
Objective and Scope of RIS
Data Architecture
Outline of the
RIS Architecture
Figure 1. Structure of the data architecture in the RIS [3.6]
Technical specifications of the message structure for
data processing and transmission of ship reporting in
the RIS system are composed of segments shows on
figure 2. The structure of a message is described in a
branching diagram indicating the position and the re-
lationship of the segments and segment groups.
For each segment the data elements are defined
which are to be used in a message [3.6].
Figure 2. Processing and transmission navigation data in the
RIS system [3]
3.1 New standard – BICS for the processing and
navigation data transmission in inland
In conformity with the EDIFACT (Electronic Data
Interchange for Administration), data processing in
the RIS system makes use BICS standard [2.4].
BICS ((BICS-Binnenvaart Informatie en Com-
municatie System-inland shipping information and
communication system)) used to transmit navigation
data about transported voyages and cargos of ships.
The port authorities and all inland shipping wa-
terway management centers need adequate infor-
mation for security and safety handling of inland
shipping. In the distress and emergency situations all
vessels must also be able to protect people and envi-
Standard BICS transfer navigation data infor-
mation faster and confidential.
BICS usually transmitted electronic declaration of
ship and data cargo to the inland waterways man-
agement system.
When BICS standard is installed, all details of the
ship (official of the ships number, name of the ship,
dimensions and other) are defined in BICS software.
BICS contains the names of all loading and un-
loading points, all cargo types and the precise names
of, and indications of the risks associated with, each
dangerous substance that is allowed to be transport-
ed over water. It is therefore only necessary to enter
the variable information for each voyage, e.g. port of
departure and destination, type and amount of cargo,
draught and number of persons on board.
New standard BICS is responsible for the gener-
ation, maintenance, use and delivery processing of
data. All information should be clear, understanda-
ble and logical for public authorities.
Figure 3 shows architecture of the BICS standard
using on the board of the vessel.
Figure 3.The data communication and information system on-
board of a vessel in the BICS standard [4,8].
In line of these layers there should be a distribu-
tion layer for the co-ordination of the communica-
tion between the vessel-bound systems (e.g. echo
sounder, rudder monitor, radar).
An analogous topology is drawn for the RIS-
system in back-offices and control rooms cooperat-
ing with VTS-centres, locks and bridges in figure 4.
For back-offices and control rooms an extra distribu-
tion layer can be of interest.
The competent authorities are allowed to distrib-
ute information based on vessels’ reports to bridge
and lock operators in order to optimise the traffic
Figure 4. The processing communication and navigation in-
formation system in back-offices and the RIS control rooms
management centres in the BICS standard [4.8].
The RIS management centres are responsibility for
the storage of the all navigation data and for pro-
cessing of the distribution in the BICS standard.
This standard of electronic data transmission pro-
vides rules for the interchange of electronic messag-
es between partners in the field of inland navigation:
ship owners, skippers and ports authority. For the
different services and functions of River Information
Services processing of the data transmission con-
tains the most important regulations for electronic
ship reporting. Standard BICS describes the messag-
es, data items and codes to be used in the navigation
data transmission.
[1] Technical specifications including: inland Automatic Iden-
tification System (AIS) and International Standards for
Electronic Ship Reporting in Inland Navigation.
Commission Directive (EC) no 416/2007 of 20.03.2007
[2] Lisaj A.: Electronic Reporting of Ships in the RIS System.
TransNav - International Journal on Marine Navigation and
Safety of Sea Transportation, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 127-130,
[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] Harre I., AIS and VTS. European Journal of Navigation,
Vol. 1, No 1, 2003.
[6] Zieliński T.P., Cyfrowe przetwarzanie sygnałów - od teorii
do zastosowań. WKił Warszawa 2005.
[7] Trögl J., Experiences with River Information Services in
the Danube Region. Conference Smart Rivers ’21, The Fu-
ture of Inland Water Navigation, Vienna, Austria, 2009.