During an information meeting held by Transport Malta on 27th July 2022, participants were briefed on the content of a preliminary market consultation document (PMC) in connection with a procurement process for the provision of a "Vessel Management System" for the Merchant Shipping Directorate. Jan Rossi and Simay Cilingir from our shipping practice attended this information session.

Economic Operators are invited to answer several questions in their written response to this PMC by the 10th of August. This feedback will help provide further information for the tender which will be issued in the coming months.

The object of this project is the shift to a complete digitalisation of the Merchant Shipping Directorate and to, therefore, digitalise the entirety of its operations. This is set to be possible with the creation of several systems, including the following:

  1. The Data and Document Management system
  2. The Vessel Management System
  3. Seafarer Management System
  4. Maritime Analytics System

All these systems make up the so-called "Target Digital Maritime Architecture" and is referred to as the "Global Project". This project is financed by the European Union under the NextGeneration EU Recovery and Resilience Facility. This has consisted of an in-depth study of the operations of the Merchant Shipping Directorate which has taken place in 3 phases. Such evaluation of its operations was conducted by Transport Malta and was carried out to prepare for the eventual Vessel Management System.

Phase 1 and phase 2 have already been completed. Phase 1 consisted of an analysis on the operation of the Merchant Shipping Directorate and what is needed for this change. This phase helped develop the Target Digital Maritime Architecture and will pave the way to an effective transition into full digitisation. The second phase continued to look at the necessities required for the development of the Data and Document Management System which will be important as it will portray the main information regarding the Maltese flagged vessels. The third and last phase is currently in progress and involves the analysis of the technical requirements for the Vessel Management System as well as the Maritime Analytics System.

The Vessel Management System being sought by Transport Malta seeks to digitalise a vast number of processes and procedures such as registry management and technical management. Moreover, procedures such as flag and port state control inspections will include a mobile application, where inspectors may record their results. The system will even digitalise radio management and more which may be viewed in greater detail in the PMC.

The shift into this digitalisation can already be felt through the Seafarer Portal that is currently in use. This change came about through the Merchant Shipping Directorate Notice 92 Rev. 2. Documents such as Certificate of Competence, and other relevant documents for the Seafarer can be uploaded through this portal.

It is evident that the full digitalisation of the Merchant Shipping Directorate is an exciting step for the Maltese registry.

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