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Dr Alice Bunn - Institution of Mechanical Engineers' new Chief Executive
08 April 2021

On 7 April the Institution of Mechanical Engineers announced the appointment of Dr Alice Bunn as its new Chief Executive. She will take up the role in July following the retirement of Dr Colin Brown.
Since 2018 Alice has been International Director at the UK Space Agency, responsible for increasing the UK's global influence in science, security and trade through space.
Alice is also head of the UK delegation to the European Space Agency; sits on the Board of Directors at the US Space Foundation and on the World Economic Forum Future Council on space technology.


RAAF at 100
03 April 2021

Illustrations MoD Crown Copyright 2021 ©

During an event at the Runnymede Memorial the Chief of the Air Staff joined Her Majesty the Queen on 31 March in commemorating 100 years of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Runnymede Memorial or the Air Forces Memorial, as it is sometimes known, commemorates the 20,456 men and women from Britain and the Dominions, who lost their lives in WWII and have no known grave. It is positioned on Cooper's Hill, Surrey overlooking the River Thames and Runnymede Meadow, where the Magna Carta was sealed by King John in 1215.


Container vessel Ever Given successfully refloated
29 March 2021

photo © westminster.boskalis.com

Boskalis announced from Papendrecht, The Netherlands, on 29 March the successful salvage operation of the grounded 20,000 TEU container vessel Ever Given in the Suez Canal. With a length of 400 metres and a width of nearly 60 metres this giant ship had been wedged in this vital shipping route since 23 March blocking all shipping traffic ever since.
For refloating of the 224,000-ton container vessel approximately 30,000 cubic metres of sand were dredged to help free the vessel and a total of eleven harbour tugs and two powerful seagoing tugs (Alp Guard and Carlo Magna) were deployed. The vessel has now been towed to a location outside the channel for further inspection.


Prioritized vaccinations for aircrew and seafarers - ICAO joins UN call
27 March 2021

In an announcement from Montréal, on 26 March ICAO joined four other UN agencies in calling on countries to prioritize Covid-19 vaccinations for aircrew and seafarers.
In addition to ICAO Secretary General Dr Fang Liu, the special Joint Statement was signed by the heads of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr Liu declared: 'The implementation of the current WHO recommendations are of primordial importance to the continued and optimal operation of the international civil aviation network, and therefore to the transport worldwide of essential shipments and workers.'


mv Ever Given incident
26 March 2021

Photo: Suez Canal Authortity ©

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has issued a statement about the incident involving the mv Ever Given, which ran aground in the Suez Canal on 23 March 2021.
The IMO has been closely monitoring the incident involving Ever Given. IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: 'I offer my encouragement to the Egyptian Authorities, as well as the salvors, tug and dredger operators and all other parties, who are working tirelessly to safely re-float the ship and resume transit through one of the world's busiest maritime trade routes as soon as possible. I appreciate the efforts of every individual involved.'


GNSS Software Defined Radio metadata standard published
18 March 2021

From its HQ in Manassas, Virginia, on 17 March the US ION announced that the GNSS Software Defined Radio Metadata Standard document has been published in NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation's Spring 2021 issue, Volume 68, No. 1, pp. 11-20. The Global Navigation Satellite Systems Software Defined Radio Sample Data Metadata Standard is the product of a three-year long effort and defines parameters and schema to express the contents of SDR sample data files. The standard promotes the interoperability of GNSS SDR data collection systems and processors.
In the past several years there has been a proliferation of software?defined radio (SDR) data collection systems and processing platforms designed for or applicable to satellite navigation (satnav) applications. These systems necessarily produce datasets in a wide range of different formats. To correctly interpret this SDR data, essential information such as the packed sample format and sampling rate is needed.
Communicating this metadata between creators and users has historically been an ad?hoc, cumbersome, and error?prone process. To address this issue, the satnav SDR community developed a metadata standard and normative software library to automate this process, thus simplifying the exchange of datasets and promoting the interoperability of satnav SDR systems. The standard was ratified and formally accepted as an Institute of Navigation Standard in January 2020.


UK Consultation into Polar Code begins
18 March 2021

James Hartley-Binns

Consultation on putting international rules designed to protect the polar regions and those that sail on them into UK law was put in train on 16 March.
The rules cover safety-related requirements for some of the toughest environments on earth including ship design, construction, and equipment as well as the protection of the unique eco-systems of the polar regions. Known as the Polar Code, it is the international standard for shipping in those regions, has been developed by IMO with substantial input from the UK.
Operators should already be working to it, but the UK wants to have it in law here as part of its ongoing commitment to cleaner seas and protection of the environment.
James Hartley-Binns, Ship Standards Policy Lead with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency commented: 'The Polar Code is designed to protect some of the most fragile ecological places on earth as well as protecting seafarers and passengers in harsh environments.'


Galileo will help Lunar Pathfinder navigate around Moon
18 March 2021

picture © Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

ESA's Lunar Pathfinder mission to the Moon will carry an advanced satellite navigation receiver, in order to perform the first ever satnav positioning fix in lunar orbit. This experimental payload marks a preliminary step in an ambitious ESA plan to expand reliable satnav coverage - as well as communication links - to explorers around and ultimately on the Moon during this decade.


Ten years of safer skies with EGNOS
17 March 2021

picture © GSA

With 26 satellites in orbit and more than two billion receivers in use, Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system has made a massive impact. But our continent has another satnav system that has been providing safety-of-life services for ten years now - chances are that you've benefited from it without noticing.
Its name is EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service. Transmitting signals from a duo of satellite transponders in geostationary orbit, EGNOS gives additional precision to US GPS signals - delivering an average precision of 1.5 metres over European territory, a tenfold improvement over un-augmented signals in the worst-case - and also confirmation of their 'integrity' - or reliability - through additional messaging identifying any residual errors.
While its Open Service has been in general operation since 2009, EGNOS began its EU-guaranteed safety-of-life service in March 2011.


ION Joint Navigation Conference 2021 registration
11 March 2021

On 10 March from its HQ in Manassas, Virginia, the (US) Institute of Navigation (ION) announced that registration for the Joint Navigation Conference (JNC) was open.
The JNC, sponsored by the Military Division of the Institute of Navigation, will be held from 24 to 26 August (FEDCON US ONLY) at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky (Greater Cincinnati, Ohio); and the Classified Sessions (Secret US ONLY) will be held on 27 August, at The Air Force Institute of Technology on Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.


First-ever authenticated positioning fix
10 March 2021

photo © ESA

In a first for any satellite navigation system, Galileo has achieved a positioning fix based on open-service navigation signals carrying authenticated data. Intended as a way to combat malicious 'spoofing' of satnav signals, this authentication testing began at ESA's Navigation Laboratory - the same site where the very first Galileo positioning fix took place back in 2013.


ION webinar on Mars Rover navigation from Earth to Jezero Crater
03 March 2021

It was announced from Manassas Virginia, on 2 March that The Institute of Navigation will host the Navigation of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover from Earth to Jezero Crater webinar on 23 March at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The webinar will be presented by Gerhard Kruizinga, Navigation Engineer, Mars 2020 Navigation Team Chief, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and moderated by Dr. Frank van Diggelen, ION President.
'We are honored to have the Navigation Team Chief of this historic mission, Gerhard Kruizinga, present his first-hand account of getting NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover from the launch pad to a safe landing on Mars' said Dr. van Diggelen, ION President.


IHMA announces new Regional Committee for Africa
01 March 2021

From left to right: Mohamed Maghazi, President AHMC; Mohamed Ouanaya, President, Chief Executive Officer, SGPTV; Yoss Leclerc, President IHMA and Kamal Din Aamraoui, Chief Operating Officer, SGPTV

The International Harbour Masters' Association (IHMA) is proud to endorse the establishment of its African Harbour Masters' Committee, the second such committee to be created under the Association's Constitution which allows a region of IHMA to be formed in an area of the world, the boundary of which is defined by named countries. IHMA's Executive Committee unanimously supported the proposal which was formally approved on 25 January, 2021.
The AHMC will bring together the African continent and collaborate in a spirit of co-operation to share ideas and provide guidance, support, and direction in the management of all aspects of maritime matters related to the Harbour Master's function in ports.


IAAC annual workshop of graduate students in Systems & Control
20 February 2021

From Moshe Idan (IAAC President): 'Continuing the tradition of previous years, we are happy to announce that the Annual Workshop of Graduate Students in Systems & Control - GSC 2021 will take place on 3 May, 2021. This year the workshop will be organized by Prof. Rafi Linker from the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Technion.
At this time it is too early to determine if the event will be held on-line, at the Technion, or in some hybrid form, but, as always, it will provide a platform for exchanging ideas among students and researchers from various universities and institutions in Israel.'


Good coordination onshore needed to deter and resolve attacks on ships
17 February 2021

Image shown here provided by Inter-Regional Coordination Center (ICC) Yaoundé, Cameroon.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has expressed deep concern about the escalation in the number and severity of attacks on ships and crew in the Gulf of Guinea region. He insisted on the need for all stakeholders to work together to restore security and reduce the threats to the safety and security of crews and vessels operating in the region. This was reported by IMO on 15 February.
The urgency of the situation has been underlined by the attack on the container ship Mozart on 23 January 2021, which resulted in a fatality and the kidnapping of 15 seafarers.
In a circular letter (No. 4382, issued 10 February1), the Secretary-General said that IMO has been taking action to enhance the coordination of initiatives among stakeholders, including facilitating meetings with representatives of the industry, the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Interregional Coordination Centre for the Implementation of Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa (ICC).
The Secretary-General also highlighted that ships need to implement the IMO endorsed Best Management Practices (BMP) for West Africa (WA) to avoid, deter, delay and report attacks. The BMP cover risk assessment, ship protection measures and reporting.
The Guidance on piracy section of IMO's maritime security webpage can be found here.


CSM signs cloud-based ship simulator partnership with Wärtsilä Voyage
14 February 2021

At the end of January Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) reported that it had entered partnership with Wärtsilä Voyage to launch cloud-based simulator training for its maritime training centres worldwide (including in Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Georgia, Republic of Korea, Croatia and the Philippines).
It is understood that the agreement with Wärtsilä's distributor in Manila, AWA Marine, will enable cloud-based simulators to be used for navigation, engineering, and liquid cargo-handling simulator-based training.
Columbia Shipmanagement is one of the world's leading ship management companies, with over 40 years of experience in the industry. It currently employs over 15,000 people worldwide and manages 380 vessels.


Complementary PNT and GPS backup technologies demonstration
09 February 2021

On 15 January the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) released the report to Congress entitled: Complementary Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) and GPS Backup Technologies Demonstration1.
USDOT's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center) conducted field demonstrations of candidate PNT technologies that could offer complementary service in the event of Global Positioning System (GPS) disruptions. The purpose of the demonstrations was to gather information on PNT technologies at a high Technology Readiness Level that can work in the absence of GPS.


ION Executive Committee, Council and Standing Committee Chairs
02 February 2021

From Manassas, Virginia, on 1 February the (US) Institute of Navigation (ION) announced its Executive Committee, Council and Standing Committee Chairs following the ION International Technical Meeting (ITM) and Precise Time Transfer and Time Interval meetings (PTTI) 2021 VIRTUAL held from 25-28 January.
The ION Executive Committee, Council and Standing Committee Chairs will serve a two-year term.


Nominations are invited for the 2021 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea
29 January 2021

Readers will find here a promotional flyer in the three working languages of the Organization (English, French and Spanish).
Each of them contains two links: one for the guidelines (Circular Letter No.4326) and the other for the nomination form in Word format.
It will be recalled that the Award Guidelines were amended in 2018 and nominations may now also involve displays of extraordinary seamanship skills in very difficult conditions or any other acts of outstanding courage occurring at sea.


Satnav antenna built for ends of the Earth
27 January 2021

VeroStar antenna - photo © Tallysman

A new ESA-supported wide-bandwidth satnav antenna has been designed to receive both satellite and augmentation signals from anywhere in the sky, even down to just a couple of degrees above the horizon.
With a growing number of satnav constellations in operation, Canada-based Tallysman Wireless's new VeroStar antenna aims to pick up all available signals, as well as support the availability of L-band correction service signals. Its development was supported through ESA's Navigation Innovation and Support Program (NAVISP) programme.


Thome Group launches new Navigation Bridge Simulator
24 January 2021

The new full mission navigation bridge simulator with a 320° view
At the controls of Thome's new navigation bridge simulator

The Thome Group recognises the importance of its seafarers keeping pace with the rapidly changing technology on board today's modern vessels which is why it has recently invested in the installation of a new Full Mission Navigation Bridge Simulator with a 320° view.
Using Kongsberg Digital's latest K-Sim navigation simulator, trainees will be able to use equipment that looks, feels and has the same functions as real on board equipment, while operating in a safe training room environment.
The sophisticated new visual system brings to life geographic locations, different weather conditions and other nearby vessels so trainees can have better seascape and interact with multiple scenarios.


Autonomous driving on intelligent road at Europe's edge
19 January 2021

picture © Finnish Geospatial Research Institute

An ESA-supported effort put an intelligent road up in Finnish Lapland through its paces, assessing its suitability for testing autonomous vehicles in some of Europe's most challenging driving conditions.
'If autonomous vehicles can drive well here, they can drive almost anywhere.' says Sarang Thombre of the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, managing the Arctic-PNT project. 'Our project aimed at ensuring in particular that the precise positioning required by autonomous systems was available here, to establish this test site is indeed somewhere that driverless vehicle manufacturers should employ for testing. We carried out experiments with a robotic car over two successive seasons to show that the necessary precise positioning, down to 20 cm, is indeed accessible.'


ICAO reports 2020 passenger totals drop 60%
17 January 2021

World passenger traffic evolution 1945 2020
2020 passenger traffic and revenues, by region

With its latest economic impact analysis of COVID-19 now completed, the UN agency for civil aviation has confirmed that international passenger traffic suffered a dramatic 60% drop over 2020, bringing air travel totals back to 2003 levels. This was announced from ICAO HQ in Montréal on 15 January 2021.
ICAO reports that as seat capacity fell by 50% last year, passenger totals dropped by 60% with just 1.8 billion passengers taking to the air during the first year of the pandemic, compared to 4.5 billion in 2019.
Its numbers also point to airline financial losses of $370 billion resulting from the COVID-19 impacts, with airports and air navigation services providers (ANSPs) losing a further $115 billion and $13 billion, respectively.


The latest IALA publications
10 January 2021

Harmonisation of Marine Aids to Navigation worldwide facilitates maritime traffic. - photo: Ambrose Greenway©
Activities of IALA Members ensure that the movements of vessels are safe, expeditious and cost-effective while protecting the environment. - photo: Ambrose Greenway©

IALA is a non-profit, international technical association. Established in 1957, it gathers together Marine Aids to Navigation authorities, manufacturers, consultants, and scientific and training institutes from all parts of the world and offers them the opportunity to exchange and compare their experiences and achievements.
IALA encourages its members to work together in a common effort to harmonise Marine Aids to Navigation worldwide and to ensure that the movements of vessels are safe, expeditious and cost-effective while protecting the environment.
Taking into account the needs of mariners, developments in technology and the requirements and constraints of aids to navigation authorities, a number of technical committees have been established bringing together experts from around the world.
See IALA's guidelines and recommendations.


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page last revised May 6, 2020