First ice-route sent in ECDIS
Reading out waypoints of an ice-route over VHF can easily be a source of misunderstanding. Sea Traffic Management aims to increase safety, and winter navigation is one important area for this. This spring the very first ice-route was sent directly from the Swedish icebreaker Frej to the Ro-Ro ship Transpaper using the on-board electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS). This illustrates how STM can lead the way for future winter navigation.
The Ro-Ro vessel Transpaper was heading from Lübeck, Germany to Finnish Oulu through the Baltic Sea. Swedish icebreaker Frej sent the very first updated ice-route directly through the on-board ECDIS, which Transpaper received and confirmed in the Route exchange format*.
“It is always a great help to minimise the workload on-board. The amount of tasks to complete and rules to obey increases every year, so systems that can reduce the administrative burden on-board are always of interest,” says Captain Johan Johansson of Transpaper.
Second officer Johan Svensson of the icebreaker Frej also sees safety and planning advantages with STM compared to the present procedure.
“Sending coordinates digitally instead of verbally reduces the risk of miscommunication. From a planning perspective the merchant marine vessel receives the dir-ways at an earlier stage with Sea Traffic Management than with the present working procedure. They can then plan in accordance with these from the start instead of having to make adjustments later on,” summarises Johan Svensson of Frej.
*RTZ or Route Plan Exchange Format is a standardised format that was developed during the MONALISA project and accepted as an international standard in August 2015.