Editorial Autumn 2011

Early this century the humble vowel “e” along with its companion “i” emerged from being just another letter in the alphabet to become a symbol of all that was thrusting and modern to the extent where politicians are now offering us e-government through e-petitions. The world of navigation has not escaped this utopian world of e and so we also have e-navigation.

So far as I can establish, e-navigation was introduced to the world by Dr Sally Basker in 2005 when she was Director of Research & Radionavigation at Trinity House. The concept received a boost when the then Shipping Minister, Dr Steven Ladyman gave it formal UK Government support in 2006. Since then, as documented within these pages, e-navigation has snowballed but where is it heading?

In 2009 e-navigation was formally adopted by the IMO and the Nautical Institute created a specialist department in order to try to ensure that the e-navigation agenda was user led. Fat chance! With the wide remit of  harmonising and integrating on board and shore technologies it was inevitable that e-navigation would become a corporate love-fest and, sure enough, conferences and seminars are taking place at far flung locations with eye watering registration fees that effectively exclude any end-user.

Three e-navigation events have recently taken place with the following cheapest fees:

-November in Seattle, $665.

-January : e-Navigation Underway : on board the Crown of Scandinavia : 670€

-November: ECDIS Revolution : £714

Whilst it’s good to note that the American Pilots are supporters of the Seattle conference it is almost guaranteed that they will be the only serving seafarers at any of these events but the big question is what’s it this achieving anyway?

Ship owners remain unfazed as they launch new ships  with traditional bridges totally unsuitable for e-navigation whilst at IMO, progress has been slowed by more and more groups jumping on the bandwagon and by debates over what the “e” might actually stand for.

As the French would say, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même”!

John Clandillon-Baker:  Editor



Leave a Reply

UK Maritime Pilots' Association
European Maritime Pilots' Association
Internation Pilots' Association SITE SPONSORS
Navicom Dynamics
OMC International