A Simpler Approach

What is it?

e-Compliance is a three year EU research project, designed to help reduce the administrative burden on maritime stakeholders by using semantic technology and digital models to manage regulations. It will include the development of a system which provides an

annotated digital library of maritime regulations allowing users to more easily establish definitions and their meaning. The project will create software systems to aid those who need to create, enforce and comply with maritime regulations.

Why is it necessary?

Commercial shipping is heavily regulated by a large number of international, EU and national authorities. The sheer number of organisations involved, the lack of consistent definitions and the vast number of different ship types in use pose a significant challenge

to those who need to create, enforce and comply with maritime regulations. This high level of complexity often leaves practitioners uncertain as to which regulations apply in a given scenario and makes non-compliance a very real threat.

Who is involved?

The project involves ten organisations, from seven EU countries, including ship operators, a classification society, a PCS operator and a maritime administration bringing extensive and comprehensive

expert knowledge and experience to the project. E-Compliance is being coordinated by BMT Group Ltd, a leading international design, engineering and risk management consultancy.

Stakeholder Focus

Everyone Benefits

The e-Compliance project is designed to provide improvements to all the stakeholders,

  • At the heart of the e-Compliance approach to rule creation lies the concept of an ontology which is a structured, and, to some extent, computer-readable model of the maritime regulations domain. Using the e-Compliance system, a supranational organisation would be able to ensure an improved consistency when drafting new maritime regulations.
  • Ports will be able to publish regulations and report templates in a machine-readable format which the e-Compliance ship system will pick up to automatically initiate the reporting and compliance-checking process.
  • Connecting the makers of the law to those who need to enforce or obey it through an electronic system would mean those required to uphold a regulation need to know of any changes. The same goes for International Safety Management code companies. Providing updates on regulation changes which are filtered by relevance (for example, ship or cargo types and geographic regions) will help practitioners update their processes and internal procedures to ensure compliance.
  • Port inspectors would also see benefits. Certificates could be issued with a QR code that is scannable "QR"with mobile devices codes. Using such codes, a paper certificate’s validity could be readily checked using a handheld device (like a smartphone) allowing the user to compare the stored details to the information on the certificate. This will simplify and speed up the validation process for on-board certificates.
  • Ship agents will be able to formulate computer-readable “rules” that contain the requirements of local bye-laws and mandatory reporting requirements. These rules can then be exported to the ship's “Rules Engine” which can alert the captain and crew if any of the requirements are not met.

Any efficiency improvements the project can deliver would also offer benefits for the EU economy as a whole, where ships transport 90 per cent of external trade and 40 per cent of internal trade. More broadly, the project fits into the EU’s “Integrated Maritime Policy” which aims to help meet the rising demands of global competitiveness, climate change, the degradation of the marine environment, safety, security and sustainability.

Latest News

Final Demonstration Completed

The e-Compliance project has completed its final demonstration in Riga, Latvia. All relevant results (including electronic certificates, PCS integration, consistent creation of regulations, port/ship integration and an electronic SMS) were presented to the maritime community.

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