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Maritime Digitalisation & Communications

Galileo recommended as part of WWRS

Tue 10 May 2016

Galileo recommended as part of WWRS
Galileo satellites will broadcast 10 different navigation signals (credit: European Space Agency)

The Europe-funded Galileo global navigation satellite system is on track to be accepted as a future component of the World-Wide Radionavigation System (WWRNS). IMO’s Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) sub-committee agreed to include Galileo as a component of the global navigation system.

Its recommendation has been forwarded to the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for discussion at its next meeting between 11 and 20 May. Galileo could become part of the WWRNS, once the proponents have stated formally that the system is operational and available for use by commercial shipping. It will then join GPS, Glonass and Beidou as recognised components of the global radionavigation system.

IMO has already adopted performance standards for Galileo shipborne receivers. The Galileo constellation will comprise 30 medium Earth orbit satellites, of which three will be spares, operated by the European Space Agency. Each satellite will broadcast 10 different navigation signals within the 1.1 to 1.6 GHz band of frequencies.

The NCSR sub-committee also agreed to revise and update the texts of the International SafetyNet Service and Navtex manuals, for submission to the MSC for approval. SafetyNet is the international automatic direct printing service for the promulgation of maritime safety information over satellite. It also sends navigational and meteorological warnings, meteorological forecasts, search and rescue information, and other urgent safety-related messages to ships. Navtex provides shipping with navigational and meteorological warnings, meteorological forecasts and other urgent safety-related information messages by automatic display or printout from a dedicated receiver.

Another agreement by the subcommittee addressed navigation issues arising from the growing number of offshore windfarms that are being installed. NCSR endorsed draft amendments to a recommendation to governments to take into account the safety of navigation when multiple structures at sea, such as wind turbines, are being planned. Governments should consider the impact on navigational safety, including radar interference and ship re-routeing, of multiple structures at sea.

Traffic density and prognoses, the presence or establishment of routeing measures in the area, and the manoeuvrability of ships and their obligations under the 1972 collision regulations should be considered when planning offshore windfarms. Sufficient manoeuvring space extending beyond the side borders of traffic separation schemes should be provided to allow evasive manoeuvres and contingency planning by ships making use of routeing measures in the vicinity of multiple structure areas.

The sub-committee also completed its review of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and established a correspondence group that will develop a preliminary draft of the modernisation plan for GMDSS.

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