To plan their routes, the crews of transoceanic cargo ships have to assimilate a huge amount of information: from beacons and buoys, weather and navigation satellites, sensors onboard and on other ships, and from private companies that track rogue waves, pirate attacks and other oceanic threats. Nonetheless, many crews still prefer to plot their course with paper charts and make adjustments manually.
Next year, however, the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) will require the crews of all large ships to switch to an electronic navigation system that reads certified digital nautical charts.
The IMO says the transition, which it expects to complete by 2018, will reduce collisions and groundings and also help crews select more clement and less pirateridden routes. Officials from Sperry Marine, the marine equipment arm of Northrup Grumman, say that crews will monitor the data on Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems, or ECDISs, that can integrate all incoming data and drive the ship's autopilot.
How It Works
Navigators view constantly updated route simulations and change routes on the fly based on environmental conditions, the ship's performance characteristics (fuel consumption, hull stress), the presence of other ships, and such scheduling constraints as container delivery time and berth availability.
Radar and GPS track the vessel's position and display it on the chart, along with the nearby sea traffic. (Electronic sea charts update automatically via a broadband satellite connection to the Internet.
Weather and oceanographic conditions (current and predicted) appear at regular waypoints along the charted route.
Tailored to the specifications of a given ship and journey, the avoider alerts the crew only to those obstacles (seafloor wrecks, ice floes, naval exercises) that could possibly harm the ship or its cargo.
Personnel on shore can monitor onboard sensors for everything from container conditions to engine output as though they were on the ship.
Through a satellite link, the shipping company can access the ship's operations or "black box" voyage data recorder.
A pirate-threat program continuously assesses real-time information from onboard radar, sonar and cameras, together with warnings from long-range satellites and reports on recent attacks, and issues alerts to the route planner.
"Remote Access"... Never a good thing.
Imagine that you are under a pirate attack and your personnel on shore decide that it's better to run then it is to surrender. Or some other fight or flee situation.
One RPG in the hull and you are a history :)
Or better yet: Somebody (perhaps a pirate) hacks the system and hijacks the ship without even leaving their house. Then they can drive the ship and it's crew wherever they want. The ship doesn't even need to be nearby. All of the sudden, the entire ocean is free game. No RPG required.
@Mr.Hyde and willycronka
remote access is not remote control, remote access means that the company will know where the ship is, where it is headed,and where its been.
@ Hyde, et. al.
With a Dynamic Positioning system, you can 'Remote Control' a vessel (and even some deep water oil rigs) from anywhere in the world. However, it is impossible to take control away from the captain completely - because there is a manual switch that must be selected by the pilot before the computer is allowed to control the vessel.
Technicians can remote access and remote control the vessel using a system that is just as secure as that which guards your bank account, and again, if the vessel is in DP mode.
So there are no worries about hijackers stealing a ship or running it aground, or some nefarious entity taking control away from the captain - Unlike HAL in the movie 2001, all DP systems can be bypassed in an instant at any time by the captain.
source: I'm a DP technician.
more info: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSEpV4HIAGY
"You don't become great by trying to be great; You become great by wanting to do something and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process." ~ Randall Munroe