United States Coast Guard at work

USCGC Willow prepares to enter the Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico 8 May, 2021 – USCG Photo USCG District 7 PADET San Juan ©
USCGC Willow – USCG Photo USCG District 7 PADET San Juan ©

News was received from the US Coast Guard 7th District (Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) HQ in San Juan that USCGC Willow completed a twelve- day mission on 19 May servicing 23 critical aids to navigation (AToN) across eight maritime ports in Puerto Rico. The crew of the cutter Willow serviced AToN in the ports of San Juan, Mayaguez, Tallaboa, Ponce, Guanica, Ceiba, Culebra and in the southwest pass of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

As the only heavy lift asset within the Coast Guard’s Seventh District, cutter Willow is primarily responsible for the continuous operation of 245 fixed and floating aids to navigation spanning from the US Virgin Islands to South Carolina, and relies on a crew of 48 personnel to complete this and other Coast Guard missions.

EUSPA: Starting strong

The European Union Agency for the Space Programme, EUSPA, was launched on 12 May marking the start of a new era for EU Space.

Building on the legacy of the European GNSS Agency, EUSPA will take on responsibilities to create even more opportunities from Space for EU citizens and its economy.

Adoption of the Regulation establishing the new EU Space Programme on 27 April marks a new beginning for the EU Space Programme and for the European GNSS Agency (GSA), which has now officially evolved into EUSPA, with an expanded mandate and new responsibilities.

Under the new Space Regulation, EUSPA’s mandate will now include increased responsibilities in managing the exploitation of Galileo and EGNOS, including their service provision and operational security. Furthermore, the Agency’s new remit includes coordinating the user-related aspects of GOVSATCOM in close collaboration with the Member States and other involved entities.

Maritime charities extend retraining funding to year end

In the UK the Maritime Charities Group (MCG), Trinity House, Nautilus Slater Fund and the Merchant Navy Welfare Board have announced the extension of the MCG Retraining and Redundancy Bursary Fund until the end of this year.

This fund, which is administered by The Marine Society on behalf of MCG, provides extra cash for training and refresher courses and is aimed at merchant seafarers who’ve lost work due to Covid-19 and want to stay in the industry. Forty-eight applications have been approved since the fund was launched last November and over £20,000 awarded in grants and it is understood that another £20,000 remains available.

Chair of MCG, Commander Graham Hockley (pictured) explained: ‘The fund was due to close at the beginning of May but with furlough coming to an end in September and many jobs under threat, the need for this kind of support hasn’t gone away. With no government funding available for seafarer retraining, it makes sense to extend the scheme.’

Trinity House to replace Channel Lightvessel with Type 1 buoy

Trinity House announced on 12 May that it will replace the Channel Lightvessel with one of its largest Safe Water Mark buoys, now that the lightvessel position has successfully established a marine traffic pattern in the area. The operation to deploy a replacement buoy is set to take place in mid-August.

Following the grounding of the Amoco Cadiz in 1978, the IMO adopted the Off Casquets Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) in 1979; Trinity House established the Channel Lightvessel so as to clearly define the new TSS to all mariners at a time when such schemes were a relatively new maritime feature.

It has been determined that as the lightvessel does not marks any physical hazards to navigation, it could be removed now that the marine traffic patterns in the area are well established. Recognising that the Channel Lightvessel has become a prominent physical mark, Trinity House has decided to replace the lightvessel with one of its largest Safe Water Mark buoys in order to enable position verification in the area.

2021 World Day for Safety and Health at Work

IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim

Statement by IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim

‘Today, on 28 April, we celebrate World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This has always been an important day for the maritime sector and for the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is responsible for the safety and security of shipping. This day is particularly significant in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

While everyone around the world has been impacted by the pandemic to some extent, this crisis has taken a particularly hard toll on seafarers, who have continued to operate as key workers in the global supply chain. On any given day, one million seafarers are working on some 60,000 large cargo vessels worldwide to ensure the flow of international trade. Much of IMO’s important work centres on keeping these seafarers, and the ships they operate, safe and secure.’


With regard to the above Moshe Idan, IAAC President, writes:

‘You are cordially invited to participate in the annual meeting of graduate students in the field of Control and Systems Theory.

The event is organized by Professor Rafi Linker from the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Technion, and will be held in-person and online on 3 May 2021.’

Boskalis receives conditional award major dike reinforcement project in The Netherlands

The ‘Meanderende Maas’ project

It was reported from Papendrecht, The Netherlands, on 26 April that Boskalis has received the conditional contract award for a major dike reinforcement, river widening and area development in the Netherlands, namely the project Meanderende Maas.

This project is part of the national Flood Protection Program in which the government and regional Water Boards work together to protect the Netherlands against flooding. Based on current estimates, the value of this two-phase contract for Boskalis amounts to approximately €160 million.

Between the towns of Ravenstein and Lith, Boskalis will reinforce the primary flood defence over a distance of 26 kilometres on behalf of the Aa and Maas Water Board and the cooperating parties in the project.

This dike protects the hinterland against high water from the Meuse river as a result of heavy rainfall and meltwater from the Meuse basin.

MENAS launches accredited training courses

Mahdi Al Mosawi, MENAS General Manager

Bahrain-based Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS) has underlined its commitment to boosting safe navigation in the Middle East Gulf by launching an Accredited Training Course (ATO) in partnership with the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).

The ATO accreditation was awarded after a rigorous process undertaken by Trinity House London under an existing agreement between IALA and Trinity House for training audits.

Mahdi Al Mosawi, General Manager for MENAS, stressed: ‘We are delighted to have developed a course to help provide a universal approach to ensure thorough training and standards are maintained globally.’

IATA and EU – US travel

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is encouraged by the comments of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, that the EU will grant unrestricted access to vaccinated travellers from the US.

Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General commented: ‘The IATA Travel Pass can help industry and governments manage and verify vaccination status, as it does with testing certificates. But we are still awaiting the development of globally recognized standards for digital vaccine certificates.

As a first step, it is vital that the EU accelerates adoption of the European Green Certificate. President von der Leyen’s comments should add urgency to this work.’

IMO introduces National Maritime Transport Policies

Illustration IMO ©

IMO is continuing to introduce countries to the concept of National Maritime Transport Policies (NMTPs).

Officials from ten countries, including Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) took part in the 4th Advanced Maritime Leaders’ Programme held remotely on 20 April.

IMO and World Maritime University experts covered the development, formulation and content of an NMTP. The objective is to achieve the maritime vision of a country and ensure the sector is governed in an efficient, sustainable, safe and environmentally-sound manner.

Find out more about the NMPT concept by via this video animation.

EGNOS Safety of Life: Serving aviation for ten years

The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) Safety of Life (SoL) Service is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Since it was declared operational in March 2011, the EGNOS SoL Service has been supporting civil aviation operations down to LPV (Localiser Performance with Vertical guidance) minima at airports across Europe.

The EGNOS SoL Service consists of timing and positioning signals intended for most transport applications in domains where lives could be endangered if the performance of the navigation system is degraded below specific accuracy limits. The SoL service is based on integrity data provided through the EGNOS satellite signals. With over 700 EGNOS-based procedures at 367 airports and helipads, the system increases safety, accessibility and efficiency for operators and pilots approaching airport and helipads in Europe. Accessible airports equal more commercial opportunities for airlines and new flight routes at a regional and international level, with minimum costs for ground infrastructure and its maintenance.

ION GNSS 2021 keynote addresses

We have been informed that the Keynote Plenary Session will feature two keynote addresses:

Towards a Smart Digital Reality: Building a Sustainable Future, presented by Dr. Burkhard Boeckem and

Artemis – Return to the Moon, presented by Steven Clarke of NASA

Unable to attend in person?

ION GNSS+ 2021 will include a virtual option for those who are unable to travel. Virtual Registration offers access to all on-demand conference content, live streams of select sessions, proceedings, as well as recordings of the sessions that were live streamed during the conference. ION GNSS+ Virtual Registration includes virtual contact with ION GNSS+ exhibitors and CGSIC’s technical program.

Kepler and Parkinson Award nominations now being accepted

Nominations are now being accepted for Institute of Navigation Satellite Division’s prestigious Johannes Kepler Award – the annual award honoring an individual during their lifetime for sustained and significant contributions to the development of satellite navigation and the Bradford W. Parkinson Award – the award recognizing an outstanding graduate student in the field of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, KG KT GCVO GBE – 1921-2021

HMS Diamond firing her Saluting Gun as part of a 41 Gun salute to mark the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Phillip – illustration MoD Crown copyright 2021 ©

On 9 April UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace paid tribute: ‘I join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at the time of his death. A constant supporter and ambassador of the Armed Forces throughout his lifetime, he will be very much missed by members of the military community.

All sailors, soldiers, marines and aircrew are inspired by the example set by their predecessors. The Duke of Edinburgh and his generation will forever be treasured by the Armed Forces for their leadership and sacrifice during the Second World War.

As we mourn The Duke of Edinburgh and offer our condolences to Her Majesty The Queen, we will remember all that His Royal Highness contributed towards the Armed Forces and be forever grateful for his service.’

IAAC Annual Graduate Students’ Workshops

From the Israeli Association for Automation Control (IAAC) comes an invitation to the annual graduate students’ workshops.

Graduate students in systems and control from Israeli universities are invited to present their latest research results.

These meetings provide an opportunity for graduate students to present their work to senior faculty members and to interested delegates from the industry, as well as to get acquainted with the work of their peers.

Webinar: Maintaining competency and training during recovery

Restricted access to training facilities combined with possible spikes in traffic levels, and the replacement of ICAO’s COVID-19 Contingency Related Differences (CCRD) by a Targeted Exemptions System from 1 April give rise to many challenges related to training operational staff.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, airlines and ANSPs have been working to address challenges related to training, and drive solutions to ensure competency of operational personnel. Join us for the second episode to gain insights from industry experts on the respective measures airlines and ANSPs are taking as well as best practices that can be implemented during the recovery phase.

Dr Alice Bunn – Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ new Chief Executive

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.

406 Day: celebrating Galileo saving lives

Stranded sailors in liferaft use an emergency position-indicating radiobeacon (EPIRB) to call for help – © GSA

Today is 406 Day – the annual campaigning day to spread awareness of the importance of emergency beacons, and the satellites that pick up their signals, including Europe’s Galileo constellation. As well as letting people across the world find their way, Galileo also serves to detect SOS messages and relay them to authorities, contributing to saving many lives.

RAAF at 100

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

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

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

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

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

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.’

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