MCA rolls out Phase 3 C-Scope for UK AIS Network

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has implemented Phase 3 of the UK AIS network, following the successful Factory/Site Acceptance (FAT/SAT) testing of Kongsberg Norcontrol IT software upgrades to its C-Scope User Interface. An earlier release of the C-Scope User Interface was already in use with the MCA as the operator interface for the entire network.

The UK AIS network, which was developed by Kongsberg Norcontrol IT and the MCA, went live in April 2006. All 18 MCA run Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCC) are networked around the UK coast to provide one integrated maritime domain awareness system for the tracking and monitoring of typically 1200-1500 vessels at any one time. This figure can rise to 4000-5000 vessels through the North Sea Regional AIS Agreement.

"The UK AIS Network provides real-time AIS information to all MRCCs, MCA's Headquarters, and a number of other UK stakeholders," comments Steve Brown of the MCA, who attended the FAT at Kongsberg Norcontrol IT's Horten, Norway facility. "The C-Scope User Interface has been in service with UK MRCCs for over a year. The latest planned release provides a number of additions which will supplement existing functionality."

Phase three includes a wealth of new functionality within the C-Scope User Interface, including: BMT SARIS support - search and rescue graphical display: VHF Direction Finding - triangulating position of a vessel through radio transmission: Transmission and receipt of AIS Messages - inc. safety text and control messages: Track reclassification - mark specific vessels for easy identification and tracking: High visibility warning object - no erroneous settings used for extended periods.

Kongsberg Norcontrol IT has also implemented a number of management functions into the system, including: Software maintenance and distribution - system wide upgrades and maintenance: Fully redundant server configuration - no single point of failure: Audit and logging - all operator interactions including graphical display: Integration with Health Monitoring system - control and dissemination of alarms and warnings: Follow me customised settings - users have a unique profile irrespective of which operator station is used.

"We continue to improve the functionality of our C-Scope User Interface and are keen to answer bespoke customer requests," comments Steve Guest, Kongsberg Norcontrol IT. "The MCA was our first customer for this solution and after being live for well over a year, we have received excellent feedback, which has resulted in the implementation of these new features as part of phase 3 of the UK AIS network."

Steve continues: "Now that we have added radio direction finding sensors, the 'AIS' Network has already evolved into a maritime domain awareness network with different user groups being able to connect to gain access to the data that is relevant to their individual role through our C-Scope User Interface."

Following the successful SAT, which took place 8th - 10th October 2007, the new software being provided under Phase 3 has been rolled out to the 65 workstations in 18 regional control centres throughout the UK.