International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea

Background & Objectives

Space-based navigation dates back to the beginning of transport. After initial steps towards a spacebased navigation system, the breakthrough in space navigation came with the deployment of the US NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS). In the recent years, there has been a true explosion of the use of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) all over the world as a result of the proliferation of new navigation systems currently in operation or in deployment phase, such as GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou, the modernisation of the existing ones (GPS L5) and augmentation systems that enhance precision, integrity, availability, and continuity, such as ABAS (RAIM, ARAIM), local systems such as GBAS and regional SBAS systems. Additionally, high-precision techniques such as RTK and PPP are a clear trend in the multimodal sector.

GNSS technology is already being used in maritime applications for navigation and positioning purposes. The maritime sector has been traditionally very keen on using the latest technological advances, so since the advent of space-navigation, GNSS receivers have been used by maritime users due to its increased capabilities against traditional maritime devices.

The shipping industry is moving towards an e-Navigation concept where a range of electronic and radio navigation technologies will provide harmonized, safe and secure support for navigation by mariners. Augmented GNSS is one of the supporting technologies for e-Navigation. In this context, Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) could be used to ensure better accuracy and a level of integrity to users. To that end, corrections of GPS data are computed by the SBAS ground infrastructure and are broadcast to SBAS-enabled receivers, along with system integrity information. These systems are regional but they are implemented in different regions of the world and they are interoperable: EGNOS in Europe, WAAS in northern America, GAGAN in India or MSAS in Japan.

For maritime regulated segments, SBAS, and in particular EGNOS is already present in some receivers. Nevertheless, current situation is that there are neither mature standards nor regulations to define how the vessel has to process SBAS signal and in particular the use of SBAS in SOLAS vessels for integrity purposes. Non-SOLAS mariners are already getting benefit of SBAS SIS but only for accuracy purposes. Note that these non-SOLAS SBAS-enabled receivers are not standardized, and make use of EGNOS open service with no guarantees. SOLAS ships should not be using SBAS messages for either accuracy or integrity until the SBAS inclusion in maritime receivers is properly standardised.

The IMO Multi-system Shipborne Receiver (MSR) performance standards from IMO MSC 401(95) [RD.1] enable the full use of relevant data originating from current/future radionavigation system/services; thus IMO MSC 401(95) allows SBAS augmentation data processing. These standards have already being produced in 2015 and in force from December 2017, which implies that IMO recommends governments to ensure that the new equipment installed from 2018 conform to these standards.

The associated MSR guidelines to IMO MSC.401(95) have been recently published as an IMO circular [RD.2]. Type-approval of a MSR is mandatory as it is applicable to SOLAS equipment. IEC TC 80 Is expected to develop the test standards based on IMO 401(95) performance standards.

In parallel, EC, GSA and ESA plan a strategy for the use of EGNOS in maritime domain in a three-step approach by adding capabilities to the users based on the integration of EGNOS with current maritime infrastructure at different levels.

The scope of SEASOLAS is therefore to define a Maritime Safety Service based on new receivers onboard vessels that uses EGNOS DFMC (EGNOS V3 will augment Galileo E1 and E5a and GPS L1 and L5 signals via geostationary satellites in L5) and based on a integrity concept at user level tailored for the maritime community.

SEASOLAS project is an 18-month study funded by the European Commission through 534/PP/GRO/RCH/16/9261. It started in January 2017 and finalized in July 2018. SEASOLAS project has been developed by a consortium led by GMV with ESSP, GLA, VVA and Ko gsberg as partners.

Market application: 
EGNSS Service



15 April 2019
The General Lighthouse Authorities of the United Kingdom and Ireland
Valdani Vicare & Associati
European Satellite Services Provider EEIG (ESSP)
Grupo Technologico e Industrial GMV S.A.
Kongsberg Seatex SA

Updated: Apr 15, 2019