As part of what is described as an ambitious plan to strengthen Ghana as a maritime forerunner in West Africa, the Ghana Maritime Authority and Danish commercial satellite operator Sternula have announced a new partnership involving e-navigation connectivity.
The agreement is part of a strategic sector cooperation between Danish and Ghanaian maritime authorities and is aimed at strengthening the maritime sector in Ghana and West Africa.
The Ghana Maritime Authority (whose Director General Thomas Alonsi is shown above signing the letter of intent) will be using Sternula’s e-navigation connectivity service – a VHF data exchange system (VDES). This technology will enable reliable and accurate maritime navigational warnings to seafarers by the local authorities, while enhancing safety in Ghanaian waters.
As one of Africa’s leading seafaring nations, Ghana is attracting more and more merchant traffic in and around the country’s largest ports (Sternula points out that almost 90 percent of West Africa’s trade is handled at sea). Therefore, it has become relevant for government to integrate new technology to improve the safety – as well as the efficiency – of maritime trade and transport along the Ghanaian coast.
While the maritime sector is becoming increasingly digitized, the interest in e-navigation, including VDES, has been on the rise. Sternula says it is currently building the world’s first VDES satellite network, which will be commercially available to maritime service providers and authorities.
VDES is a new communication technology built on the capabilities of the well-known automatic identification system (AIS) technology, which supports the development of e-navigation solutions.
Sternula will be offerings its VDE-SAT infrastructure enabling VDES on a global scale from 2023.