From shipping accidents to global navigation systems, we’ve been keeping track of the news that reflect the important and interesting issues affecting the maritime industry. Here are a few recent stories.

Maritime experts ask industry to be more aggressive with technology - Dense fog makes San Francisco one of the nation’s most challenging places to pilot an airplane or a ship. But while jet aircraft have highly sophisticated electronic, computer and communication systems, most large commercial ships do not, mainly because those systems are so expensive, wrote The Times Herald. In the wake of an accident on Monday in which a 752-foot tanker struck a Bay Bridge tower in a shroud of fog, some maritime experts are asking whether the industry should be more aggressive in catching up with 21st century technology. They say the Bay Area was lucky that the collision spilled no oil, but the incident raises concerns about the navigational systems of commercial vessels. To make shipping safer and protect the environment, “we still have a ways to go to utilize all the ideas and electronic and computer-assisted equipment that are coming along,” said Victor Schisler, director of professional simulation at the California Maritime Academy.

Court to rule on navigating stretch of Hong Kong waterThe South China Morning Post reported that the city’s Court of Final Appeal could decide how ships navigate in one of the busiest stretches of Hong Kong’s waters, following appeals against conviction by two seamen involved in a deadly ship collision four years ago. Eighteen crew on board the supply ship Neftegaz-67 died when it sank after colliding with the larger dry cargo bulk carrier Yao Hai near the Brothers Islands off Lantau in 2008. Seamen on the Neftegaz-67 thought they were sailing in open water, while the Yao Hai crew believed they were transiting in a narrow channel, which meant different navigation rules applied.  Lawyers in the case have said that marine traffic regulations, geographic features and water depth would determine whether a section of water was considered a narrow channel and that the courts could make a ruling if there was confusion over whether the body of water in question constitutes a narrow channel or a deep water route.

GNSS market positions Itself for the future – Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), which started purely as a military application, has now widened to include all possible users, according to a new report from analysts Frost & Sullivan. They forecast increasing prominence of Position, Navigation and Timing data from GNSS in the next 10 to 20 years, including the role that the European GALILEO project can play, alongside GPS and GLONASS, as well as the Chinese COMPASS/BeiDou navigation satellite system. Whilst it does not expect the use of GNSS in the Position, Navigation and Timing market to reach its full potential until 2020, it believes that Safety-of-Life and Search-and Rescue applications could come to maturity by 2015. Frost & Sullivan estimate that the value of the Asia Pacific market will more than double in the next ten years, from EUR22.10 billion in 2012 to EUR56.07 in 2021, with the European market estimated to grow from EUR16.90 billion in 2012 to EUR28.54 billion in 2021.

We’d love to hear from you about any maritime stories that have caught your eye.

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