Satellite-based systems are fundamentally changing maritime navigation. From small sailing boats to super tankers, vessels of all types are now equipped with on-board systems that rely on satellites for positioning. Accurate and reliable positioning are key features for of satellite systems – including EGNOS and Galileo – capable of streamlining port operations, improving safety and protecting maritime environments.
Today, EGNOS is providing the maritime sector with the accurate and reliable positioning it demands. Complementing the existing maritime navigation infrastructure, EGNOS assists vessels in safely navigating through coastal and inland waterways. However, even with the many benefits that EGNOS brings, it is still not being fully exploited.
“We need to formalize the process of using EGNOS and that the mariner clearly understands the benefits of using it,” said Mike Fairbanks of the European Maritime Radionavigation Forum, speaking during the Maritime session at the European Space Solutions Conference in Prague.
To remedy this, future versions of EGNOS will be even further tailored to the maritime sector, taking into consideration the most stringent requirements of marinas and thus making its service offering even more valuable.
“Maritime users are one of the targets for EGNOS evolution,” said FDC’s Emmanuel Schielin. “To meet the sector’s needs, next versions of EGNOS will support navigation applications for harbour entrances, harbour approaches and coastal waters.”
The deployment of Galileo will further enhance positioning accuracy by adding additional satellites to the currently available constellations. “With Galileo, marinas will have even more solutions at their disposal,” said Pedro Lourenco of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).
For example, in the case of an emergency at sea, time is of the essence. Galileo, in combination with other GNSS systems, will allow for faster alert localization and message detection, a more precise localization of the distress beacon and higher availability.
Through its Search and Rescue service, Galileo will offer a return link confirming the distress signal was received – which has proven to drastically improve the chances of survival.
Differential GNSS (D-GNSS) provide additional improvements for maritime applications with an additional need of precision.
“The D-Galileo service will be essential for the use of Galileo in many maritime applications,” noted Kongsberg’s Stig Erik Christiansen.
“GNSS is a core maritime technology and, with Galileo added to the system, we will have a global network of multiple GNSS systems capable of providing the corrections needed for the improved accuracy, reliability and availability the sector demands,” concluded Christiansen.