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Future of electronic navigation mapped out in Singapore

Singapore: The Third International Electronic Chart Display and Information System Conference & Exhibition (IEC09) kick started in Singapore this morning. Held over three days from 19 to 21 October 2009, the conference covers issues and implications of the 2012 compulsory transition from paper nautical charts to e-Navigation. Authorities and existing ECDIS users will provide information on a variety of topics including training, equipment retrofitting and costs.

"These are global issues; they require a global response. All of us, wherever we live and whatever we do, have a strong vested interest in developing world trade, and in supporting those who make it possible," said Paul Madden, British High Commissioner to Singapore.  "Over the next ten or so years, global maritime navigation is going to be transformed. ECDIS has been called 'the biggest industry innovation since radar'. But in truth, it's surely bigger even than that. Printing made man's accumulated navigational knowledge a resource available to all; digitalisation will make it accessible more easily, more flexibly, more powerfully and more economically. And by doing so, it will make the ocean a safer place to be."

"As the 2012 timeline for mandatory ECDIS carriage draws near, it is important for the maritime community to come together and address implementation issues like equipment installation, crew training and the production of quality ENCs. This transformation from paper nautical charts to e-Navigation is a global effort that will involve the whole maritime community," said Lam Yi Young, ceo of the MPA, which jointly organised the conference with the UKHO.

"MPA and UKHO have been partnering each other to promote ECDIS even before our first International ECDIS Conference and Exhibition in 1998. We actively inform and educate users about ECDIS so as to promote and increase the usage of this technological milestone in nautical charting that contributes to safer and more efficient shipping," he added.

This conference marks a number of undertakings in the field, including the adoption of Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) on ECDIS in Singapore. As the world's busiest port, Singapore has already been harnessing the capabilities of using Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) on ECDIS. ECDIS and ENCs have been proven to be effective, and are the optimal alternative to paper nautical charts. In fact, the UKHO and MPA are to jointly conduct the region's first accredited cartographic and ENC training next year

Additionally, the cooperation between Singapore and the other two littoral States, Indonesia and Malaysia, has resulted in ENCs for the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, a key waterway for international shipping. The Batam-Rempang-Galang (Barelang) Singapore ENCs by Singapore and the Indonesian Hydrogragraphic Office was produced to cover key ferry routes and terminals in Riau and Singapore to enhance navigational safety of high speed passenger ferries that cut across the Singapore Strait.  

Using the latest technologically advanced survey system, Singapore will be working with Hong Kong to jointly produce the first high-density ENC with more detailed seabed topography for selected channels within Singapore and Hong Kong's port waters.  [19/10/09]



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