The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has conducted a simulation exercise on its Vessel Traffic Monitoring Information System (VTMIS) Control Centre in Accra, as the first step towards the country’s e-navigation implementation plan.
E-navigation is the harmonized collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information on board 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 Organization (IMO) initiative to harmonize and enhance navigation systems and it is expected to have a significant impact on the future of marine navigation.
Ghana’s initiative towards the e-navigation solution was developed by Denmark as part of the strategic maritime sector cooperation between the two countries.
The demonstration of the VTMIS involved the simulated of the receipt of an intelligence 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 on a website, warning all mariners to stay well clear of the incident area.
Ghana is the fourth maritime country to introduce these advanced capabilities (after Denmark, France and Canada), thereby leapfrogging into the forefront 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.
“This e-navigation system will benefit the safety and security of all users in the maritime domain in Ghana, from large commercial vessels to the small fishing vessels,” he said.
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 the 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 will be undergoing 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.