Indian Institute of Technology Madras Researchers are going to develop an indigenous Vessel Traffic Software (VTS) that will help monitor maritime traffic. This will cater to the increasing maritime traffic and help keep pace with global technological developments in the maritime domain.
Envisaged initially as part of the Maritime Vision 2030 action plans, this software development project is part of a collaboration between IIT Madras and VO Chidambaranar (VOC) Port Trust in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, for which a MoU was signed recently. A VTS is required under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.
This software will help realize the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision for building a ‘Digital India’ and using digital technologies to build ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat.’ This software could eventually be used for monitoring maritime traffic in other ports across India.
This Research Project will be led by National Technology Centre for Ports Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC), a Centre of Excellence at IIT Madras that functions as the technology arm of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India.
Elaborating on the unique aspects of this collaboration, Shri T.K. Ramachandran, IAS, Chairman, V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust, Tuticorin, said, “VOC Port is the first Indian Major Port of India to sign MoU with NTCPWC for development of Indigenous software for VTS System. The development of indigenous system by NTCPWC, as per VOC Port’s requirement, instead of relying on proprietary and costly foreign made software solutions, will be a game changer in Indian Maritime Industry.”
The MoU was signed recently by Capt. Pravin K Singh, Deputy Conservator, VOC Port Trust, and Prof. K. Murali, Professor In-Charge, NTCPWC-IIT Madras, in the presence of Mr. TK Ramachandran, Chairman, VOC Port Trust, Mr. Bimal Kumar Jha, Deputy Chairman of VOC Port Trust and Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, besides other senior officials of the Port and NTCPWC.
Speaking about benefits to Indian Maritime Sector from this collaboration, Prof. K. Murali, Professor In-charge, NTCPWC-IIT Madras, said, “The Indigenous VTS software system will open up the pathway for India to develop other indigenous technology solutions that maritime severely depends on overseas solutions.”
Touching on the outcomes envisaged from this Project with VOC Port Trust, Prof. Murali said, “The cooperation will help to build partnerships with all other major ports for providing technology solutions to address their problems.”
The Highlights of this collaboration include:
Ø The Focus of NTCPWC will be on the operation, manning and maintenance of vessel traffic system and the development of indigenous vessel traffic software in Tuticorin
Ø NTCPWC will maintain the existing Vessel Traffic Service, for day-to-day operations and assist Pilots in real-time information of tracking of ships and analysis of Vessel traffic including Met-Ocean warnings.
Ø This maintenance model that will be adopted will help to reduce the cost of the VOC port in terms of maintenance and alert the port at an appropriate time for any repair and replacement through direct employment of the instrument vendor by the port.
Ø In addition, NTCPWC will also carry out an assessment of the existing VTS functionalities, hardware, software, identify suitable upgrades and provide a technical proposal to VOC Port for the VTS system upgrade that can be procured directly by VOC Port without involving third-party solution providers.
The present VTS at VOC Port has been operational for nearly seven years. Given the rapid increases in maritime traffic in India and abroad, a more VTS effective system would help create higher safety levels.