The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has taken the first step toward Ghana’s e-navigation implementation plan as it seeks to further secure the country’s territorial waters.
e-navigation is the harmonised collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information, onboard and ashore, by electronic means to enhance berth to berth navigation and related services for safety and security at sea, and protection of the marine environment.
It is a major International Maritime Organisation (IMO) initiative to harmonise and enhance navigation systems, and it is expected to have a significant impact on the future of marine navigation.
Ghana’s initiative toward the e-navigation solution was developed by Denmark as part of strategic maritime sector cooperation between the two countries.
A demonstration of the initiative took place at the authority’s Vessel Traffic Monitoring Information System (VTMIS) Control Centre in Accra recently.
This involved the simulated receipt of an intelligence report alleging acts of piracy in a given area. Within 60 seconds, this information was entered into the system and communicated by twitter and shown on the map of a website, warning all mariners to stay well clear of the incident area.
It is noted that Ghana is the fourth maritime country to introduce these advanced capabilities after Denmark, France and Canada – thereby leapfrogging other maritime nations in the use of technology in the maritime domain.
Project leader from the Danish Maritime Authority, Dr. Christopher Saarnak-who was in Ghana to train the GMA staff, was impressed with the skill of his Ghanaian partners and “is excited about the prospects of this new technology”, saying: “This e-navigation system will benefit the safety and security of all users in the maritime domain of Ghana, from large commercial vessels to the small fishing vessels.”
He added that “the large vessels will now get a graphical overview of navigational warnings instantly, rather than decoding endless lines of positions and plotting them on charts. For small vessels, all it will take is one person in the community owning a smart phone to get updates of hazards to their navigation in real time”.
Mr. Kwame Owusu, Director General of the GMA, and Ambassador of Denmark Ms. Tove Degnbol witnessed the demonstration.
The system undergo more tests before entering into service in the first half of 2018 with a webpage, Twitter account and dedicated app, which will be made available to the wider community free of charge.