Being responsible for complex environments, such as the port of Tallinn, The Estonian Transport Administration (Transpordiamet) knows the importance of adapting to change, whether it concerns sustainability, digitization or cyber security. Navelink, operated by Combitech, are honored to continue our collaboration with this future-oriented client. We look forward to add value to their maritime actors’ day-to-day operations through added layers of security for their digital information exchange.

“Ships and harbors are truly international work environments, with crew members from very different parts of the world”, says Are Piel, Head of the Estonian Traffic Management Department. “This results in a mix of languages and dialects among the crew, which understandably sometimes results in misunderstandings when coastal VTS and vessels communicate over the VHF. Did you know that the main reason for collisions is misunderstandings? With digital information, the message is clearer and more understandable, significantly lowering the risk of misunderstandings.”

With their aim set on a digitized, global and sustainable future, the Estonian Transport Administration has invested in state of the art equipment to truly benefit from the ongoing global digitization of information exchange within the maritime sector. They recently upgraded their VDES with the added feature of a Sea Traffic Management (STM) module that enables end-to-end planning of vessel voyages through sharing of information about a ship’s intentions of movement.

“We strongly support the principle of sharing information and believe in the benefits of route exchange. It is one of the key elements for ensuring safety at sea since it allows us to predict critical situations in advance”, says Are Piel. “This results in safer and smoother traffic, as well as saves time and fuel.”

Daily activities in Transpordiamet’s office.

On one hand, with the right partners, information exchange improves the conditions for all parties involved, optimizing use of resources and increasing productivity. On the other hand, the same information falling into the wrong hands can be turned against the information owners. Seafarers and harbors alike experience a growing number of threats related to information hijacking. Harbors have been tricked into accommodating ships under false identities. Ships have been led into dangerous areas believing they communicate with a harbor. In short, information needs to be protected. The information owner needs to feel safe that the information reaches the intended recipient, and the recipient needs to feel safe knowing that the information comes from the right sender.

Navelink adds the layers of security needed to accomplish exactly this along IMO’s recommendations and prepares the maritime actors for potentially higher security regulations in the future.

Navelink solves the problem of proving ones identity by issuing unique identity certificates to our members which they use to sign their communication. Whether in the role of sender or receiver, these identity certificates are used to verify ones identity.

Navelink enables its members to communicate with any other ship or harbor in the world, regardless of distance, creating optimum conditions to plan vessel routes. These benefits are enabled largely thanks to Navelink’s Service Registry, where Navelink connects maritime actors to services that might benefit them, for example connecting a ship to the services available in different ports along its journey. Through route-plan exchange and connection to the services, both vessels and harbors can make their operations more effective. The ship’s route can be optimized through speed adaptation to reach harbors just in time for receiving the services needed, saving both time and fuel. The harbors experience improved conditions to accommodate ships, giving them more control of time and personnel resources.

Through the added layers of information security provided by Navelink, and the role this plays in continuing the digitization journey, Transpordiamet has increased Estonia’s international competitiveness further, positioning its maritime actors as even more sought-after partners on the global market.

Example of an STM route plan
Example of an STM route plan.

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