The target of the Tanker Safety Project (2009–2014) was to significantly decrease the likelihood of oil accidents in the Gulf of Finland, and to improve the safety of marine traffic. To be able to reach this target, the Foundation, in cooperation with key seafaring stakeholders, created the ENSI® navigation service, which improves the preconditions of forecasting vessel traffic control by providing an easy way to share route plans electronically between the vessels and marine traffic control centres.
The Gulf of Finland is a very busy marine area with increasing volumes of traffic and oil transportation: these factors also increase the risk of serious oil accidents. Crossing traffic on the Helsinki – Tallinn route, submerged rocks, and ice conditions in the wintertime all pose additional challenges to seafaring. A major oil accident, causing an oil spill of dozens of tonnes of oil, would have a long-term and irreversibly damaging impact on the organisms and livelihoods of the sea and the seashore.
Instead of focusing on damage control, the Tanker Safety project, initiated in 2009, worked on the prevention of oil accidents. In cooperation with its project partners, the Tanker Safety project created the ENSI® (Enhanced Navigation Support Information) navigation service, which delivers the route plans of vessels to marine traffic control, and facilitates the way vessels receive information in electronic format.
When the detailed route plans of vessels are available to marine traffic control centres, and the planned routes are re-checked, the preconditions of forecasting vessel traffic control are much improved. Thanks to the ENSI service, communications are more efficient, and the risk of misunderstandings between vessels and vessel traffic controllers is reduced.
The route-specific data available to vessels helps them navigate safely. At the same time, tasks on the bridge becomes easier, as route-specific navigation information is available through one channel, and time is not wasted on looking for and filtering data.
The ENSI service is scalable both in terms of its content and its coverage area. Its features can be increased and expanded, and the service can be deployed also in other marine areas.
The Foundation’s part of the Tanker Safety Project was completed in the summer of 2014. In the future, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency will promote the deployment of the ENSI service in the Gulf of Finland and in the entire Baltic Sea.