In an exciting development for the maritime industry, Navelink met with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Sternula to discuss VDES (VHF Data Exchange System) testbeds. One of the focus areas of the meeting centered around the role of Navelink’s identity management service for an efficient management of the VDES testbed. This collaborative effort aims to revolutionize maritime communication and drive advancements in vessel safety and operational efficiency. 


VDES Testbeds: Advancing Maritime Communication 

VDES testbeds serve as controlled environments for testing and validating the VHF Data Exchange System—an innovative technology that enhances communication capabilities in the maritime domain. By leveraging the VDES technology, vessels can exchange a wide range of data, including safety information, navigation updates, and environmental data, enabling seamless and secure communication between vessels and shore-based maritime actors.  


Combined Capabilities of AMSA, Sternula, and Navelink 

The meeting, hosted by Navelink in Malmö on Wednesday the 24th of May, brought together representatives from AMSA, Sternula, and Navelink, each organization excelling in specialized areas of expertise and contributing unique perspectives to the collaborative efforts.  

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is the national regulatory agency responsible for the safety and environmental protection of Australia’s maritime industry. AMSA works to ensure the highest standards of maritime safety, efficient navigation, and protection of the marine environment. As Australia’s maritime regulator, AMSA oversees various aspects of maritime operations, including vessel safety and certification, seafarer training and certification, search and rescue coordination, maritime incident response, and navigation services. 

Sternula, who has been a part of Navelink since 2020, is a leading maritime technology provider and the world’s first commercial provider of affordable, secure, and global connectivity for the maritime industry using the VHF Data Exchange System (VDES). By leveraging VDES technology, Sternula will be capable of reinforcing vessel tracking, navigational support, and safety-related communication for over 200,000 vessels globally. With active involvement in standardization efforts under IALA, IMO, and ITU, Sternula is dedicated to enhancing safety at sea, reducing costs, and promoting environmental sustainability in the maritime domain. 

Navelink provides a secure digital communication platform, tailored to the maritime domain, which offers unique identity certificates and protection of digital information. In addition, users get access to our Service Registry to offer their own services to other maritime actors and to consume the maritime services that are gathered in the registry. Moreover, Navelink makes up a community, connecting actors from across the maritime domain. 


A Meeting to Foster Collaboration and Innovation 

The key objective of the meeting was to explore ways to effectively manage and leverage VDES testbeds using Navelink’s specialized digital infrastructure services. This collaboration aims to accelerate the adoption of VDES technology and promote its integration into the broader maritime communication ecosystem. Highlights and critical topics discussed during the meeting included: 

Testbed Management: The participants delved into strategies for optimizing the management and operation of VDES testbeds. This involved streamlining data exchange processes, ensuring data integrity, and enhancing the overall testbed efficiency. 

Standards and Interoperability: The importance of adhering to global standards for data exchange was emphasized. The parties discussed the significance of interoperability among different systems and the need to ensure seamless integration between VDES and existing maritime communication frameworks. 

Security and Data Protection: Given the sensitive nature of maritime data, the meeting addressed security concerns and the implementation of robust security measures within the VDES testbeds. The participants discussed encryption protocols, authentication mechanisms, and data privacy regulations to safeguard critical information. 


Future Outlook and Benefits 

The collaborative efforts between Navelink, AMSA, and Sternula hold immense potential for the maritime industry. By leveraging Navelink’s identity management services, the VDES testbeds can incorporate effective features for protection and authentication of digital information, enabling more secure data exchange among maritime actors. The meeting marks a significant milestone in the evolution of VDES technology and its integration into the maritime domain. This collaboration underscores the commitment of industry stakeholders to enhance communication capabilities, improve vessel safety, and promote operational efficiency.  


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Anders Wendel and Mikael Olofsson from Navelink, Ricky Withers from the Australian Maritime Safety Administration, and Jakob Weibrecht from Sternula met to discuss VDES testbed management.


We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead as Navelink, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), and Sternula continue the collaborative efforts around the management of the VDES testbeds. This collaborative effort signifies our shared commitment to advancing safety at sea, secure communication, and environmental sustainability in the maritime domain. 


Author: Milena Dalinaros