Why do we need a Ship Report Registry?

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Bridge Teams use Electronic Nautical Charts (ENC’s) on Electronic Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) to plan their voyages and safely navigate their ship. ECDIS helps them in avoiding groundings and allisions by identifying nearby shoals, rocks, reefs, wrecks along with aids to navigation.

Bridge Teams will use Ship Reporting Tools to overcome imminent administrative hurdles much like they use ECDIS to avoid groundings an allisions.

Just like ECDIS uses ENC’s to identify shoals, rocks, reefs and wrecks, Ship Reporting Tools will use the Ship Report Registry to identify administrative hurdles for each port on the ship’s voyage plan and generate the required reports automatically as much as possible.

ENC’s need to be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in shoals, aids to navigation, etc.

The Ship Report Registry, just like an ENC, is a database that contains information about which shore-based authority requires what reports, when and in what format. It, too, will need to be updated on a regular basis to stay abreast of changes in reporting requirements.

Who pays for development and maintenance of the Ship Report Registry?

National Hydrographic Offices develop and maintain ENC’s and distributors provide Bridge Teams with access to them, often through a Pay As You Sail (PAYS) subscription.  National Hydrographic Offices perform surveys to update their ENC’s.

Similarly, the entity that will publish the Ship Report Registry will need to collect and maintain details on ship reporting requirements from shore-based authorities. To fund these efforts, it could charge ships a nominal fee for Pay As You Sail (PAYS) subscriptions to the registry similar to PAYS subscriptions to ENC’s.

Who will govern the Ship Report Registry?

The main groups of stakeholders in ship reporting are:

  1. Shore-based authorities who require reports
  2. Bridge Teams who submit ship reports
  3. Ship owners/operators that fund Bridge Teams and their Ship Reporting Tools
  4. Vendors that develop, test, maintain and market ship reporting ICT tools
  5. The IMO/IMO FAL Committee

Shore-based authorities

The interests of shore-based authorities are most likely best represented by a country’s Competent Authority. Most if not all of them are National Members of IALA. For this reason, IALA delegates should be part of the Ship Report Registry governance.


IALA is planning to add a work item for ship reporting to its 2018-2022 work program. The deliverables of this item will likely include “Ship Report Template Registry specifications and governance”.

Bridge Teams

Many Bridge Team Members belong to the Nautical Institute. Therefore, it might be appropriate to ask a delegate of the Nautical Institute to be part of the governance of the Ship Report Registry.

Ship Owners/Operators

Bridge Teams, however, will not fund access to the Ship Report Registry or Ship Reporting Tools. Ship owners/operators will. For this reason, it is imperative that they are part of the governance. Their interest could be represented by their proxies from ICS, BIMCO, INTERTANKO, CLIA, etc.

Vendors of Ship Reporting Tools

Vendors, just like they had to agree on S-57 for ENC’s, need to agree on a common Ship Report Registry. They need to ensure that it will support development, marketing and maintenance of affordable Ship Reporting Tools. Most of them are Members of CIRM, therefore, their interests in the Ship Report Registry could well be represented by a delegate from CIRM.

Most if not all vendors also belong to the “Ship Reporting Correspondence Group (CG)” that was recently formed to address hurdles preventing them from offering effective and affordable Ship Reporting Tools. A delegate from this CG might be able to more directly represent their interest in the Ship Report Registry.

IMO FAL Committee

IMO has ultimate responsibility for development and implementation of the e-Navigation Strategy Implementation Plan, Solution 2 “Standardized and Automated Reporting”. Also, the IMO FAL Committee has a stake in standardizing ship reports. Therefore, representatives from IMO/IMO FAL should be part of the governance of the Ship Report Registry.

How do you develop and maintain a Ship Report Registry?

A survey of shore-based authorities and their reporting requirements could be used to develop the initial version of the Ship Report Registry. During the survey, shore-based authorities should be encouraged to submit details about their reporting requirements to the on-line Ship Report Registry and to update their requirements as they change over time.

Shore-based authorities, however, are unlikely to do so if the publisher of the Ship Report Registry is a commercial for-profit entity. They are more likely to submit their reporting requirements to the registry if its publisher is an internationally recognized organization like IALA. IALA could furthermore legitimize submission of reporting requirements if it develops and adopts an internationally recognized standard for specification of reporting requirements.

What role will the Ship Report Registry play in cyber security?

Not only do electronic ship reports contain sensitive personal crew and passenger information, they also contain trade secrets about the cargo carried. Ship owners need to retain control over who has access to such information.

The Ship Report Registry will contain a list of shore-based authorities. Ship Reporting Tools will use a local copy of this list to control access to electronic ship reports.

What is in the Ship Report Registry?

The registry contains a list of shore-based authorities, their reporting requirements and a list of report templates.

Shore-based authorities

This list contains up-to-date contact information for shore-based authorities that require ship reports along with details about their electronic security certificate.

Report Templates

This list identifies both standard templates (i.e. FAL 1-7) as well as non-standard templates. There are well over 1000 non-standard templates.

Templates identify form headers, footers, body lay-out, data elements, their units of measure, etc. All templates are also captured in a SAP Crystal Reports template that can be used to automatically generate them in the required format.

Report Submission Requirements

This list identifies the shore-based authority that requires the report and the report template to use, along details about how it should be submitted, when and in what format:

  • Printed form
  • Fax
  • e-Mail
  • PDF
  • XML

For a detailed description of a draft of the data dictionary of the Ship Report Registry

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