Envisaged initially as part of the Maritime Vision 2030 action plans, the software development project is part of a collaboration between IIT Madras and VO Chidambaranar (VOC) Port Trust in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, for which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed recently.
The proposed software will cater to the increasing maritime traffic and help keep pace with global technological developments in the maritime domain.
According to T K Ramachandran, Chairman, VO Chidambaranar Port Trust, VOC port is the first major port of India to sign a MoU with the National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts (NTCPWC) at IIT Madras 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. A VTS is required under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea,'' he said. K Murali, Professor, 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''.
Murali explained the focus of IIT Madras will be on the operation, manning and maintenance of vessel traffic system and the development of indigenous vessel traffic software in Tuticorin. ''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,” he said.
''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,'' he added. The 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,” he said.