Maritime Connectivity Platform

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Maritime Connectivity Platform (MCP)
Developer(s)
  • OFFIS, Germany
  • KRISO, Republic of Korea
  • RISE, Sweden
  • University of Copenhagen, Danmark
  • General Lighthouse Authorities of UK and Ireland
  • The Danish Maritime Authority
  • Swedish Maritime Administration
  • Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea
Editor software
  • Netbeans
  • eclipse
Programming language(s)Java
Application(s)
  • Maritime Identity Registry
  • maritime Service Registry
  • maritime Messaging Service
StatusActive
LicenseOpen-source

Maritime Connectivity Platform (MCP)[1] is an open-source communication platform enabling information exchange between authorized maritime entities across diverse communication systems. The primary objective of MCP is to enable maritime stakeholders to securely access technical services to gain further information for decision-making onboard and ashore. MCP was motivated from the need for harmonization and interoperability within the maritime transport domain as emphasised in the International Maritime Organization e-navigation strategy and beyond, and has been developed and operated through international projects such as EfficienSea2[2], STM Validation Project[3], SMART Navigation Project[4]. From February 2019, the Maritime Connectivity Platform consortium (MCC) was established to keep the idea of MCP alive. Now MCP has been used to provide a global communication infrastructure for the maritime sector, as defined within the e-Navigation strategy and beyond, matching the goals of the Republic of Korea and EU e- Navigation and e-maritime initiatives. Three core technical components, i.e., Maritime Identity Registry (MIR), Maritime Service Registry (MSR), and Maritime Messaging Service (MMS), were identified and have been developed to support the functionality of MCP.

History

The concept of MCP was introduced by the e-Navigation strategy of IMO in 2007 and a need for interoperability among existing and upcoming maritime systems (International Maritime Organization, 2009). Maritime Connectivity Platform, formerly known as Maritime Cloud During the development severe problems such as lack of bandwidth, complexity in development, and limitation on signal coverage were founded.

Core components

Maritime Identity Registry (MIR)

MIR provides trusted identities to actors in the maritime domain for secure use of services by following three components. Firstly, Identity Management: Each MCP entity obtains a unique ID in terms of a Maritime Resource Name (MRN). Secondly, Public key infrastructure (PKI): Each MCP entity holds an electronic identity in terms of a public/private key pair and a certificate bound to their MCP ID. And thirdly, Authentication and Authorization for Web Services: MCP entities benefit from login, single sign-on, and authorization for API access of web services, as well as secure integration of web services based on the standards OAUTH 2.0 and OpenID Connect.

Maritime Service Registry (MSR)

MSR is a web-based registry for service discovery and service management. It enables service providers to register their services in the MCP and allows an end-user to discover those services like yellow pages for maritime digital services. Service descriptions and instances can be searched via different criteria such as keyword, organization, and location. The management of a service encapsulates the functions to publish a service specification and register/publish a service instance.

Maritime Messaging Service (MMS)

MMS is an information broker for exchanging messages via different communication channels in a maritime environment. MMS facilitates seamless use of services by the use of MRN for entity address which is immutable for the case of switching between different IP addresses or communication during voyage and message relaying with its message queue. MMS supports push technology enabling the service provider to promulgate the service to a specific user or a group of users by group- or Geocast function of MMS.

Design principles

  • Distributed identity management: As a global self-organized eco-system composed of numerous autonomous actors, the maritime industry requires a highly distributed approach to managing identities and authentication/authorization that meets the highest cybersecurity standards.
  • Vendor independence: It must be possible to implement, run and maintain the MCP on various technical infrastructures without relying on any vendor-specific features.
  • Openness: The MCP must be open for all stakeholders and other interested parties in the maritime industry and beyond. It is a call to join forces and together take the industry into the digitalization era.
  • Non-profit governance: While MCP instances could and should be run by both private and public interests, based on different business models and incentives, it is of great importance that governance of the MCP concept itself maintains its not-for-profit character.
  • Service-oriented architecture: In the context of service-oriented architecture, a service usually refers to a set of related software functionalities that can be reused for different purposes together with policies that govern and control its usage. The MCP embrace this definition but also comprises a much broader scope that also includes services, which do not rely solely on machine-to-machine communication such as services delivered over telephone calls (voice or fax), email, websites, NAVTEX and other “primitive” solutions.
  • Proven technologies: The MCP concept relies on well-proven industry-standard technologies, such as Web service, OpenID Connect, X.509 certificate, and so on, but will remain open for and follow the development of new emerging technologies.

Impact

To improve maritime safety in national scope, SMART Navigation Project[4] has developed Maritime Service Portfolio based E-Navigation services based on MCP, which will be deployed as operational services together with LTE-Maritime network from 2021[5]. STM Validation project demonstrated significant enhancements in safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability of maritime sector by information sharing between stakeholders based on the use of MCP[6].

Maritime Connectivity Platform Consortium (MCC)

From February 2019, for MCP governance, Maritime Connectivity Platform Consortium (MCC) was established by non-profit organizations and governmental observers[7]. MCC is an international but neutral and independent entity that operates in a strictly Nonprofit organization and transparent way. MCC governs the standards relating to MCP, including the source code of MCP. MCC operates a testbed for MCP but does not operate an operational instance of MCP. Rather, the MCC authorizes other organizations to run operational instances of the MCP.

Implementation

The reference implementations are available at GitHub repository that maintained by MCC.

Distributed nature of MCP

The initial MCP implementation was a centralized system where all identities are issued from and store. As requirement of being MCP an independent but interoperable solution for authentication and providing services evolves, the concept of MCP instance provider which runs and takes the responsibility for an operational instance of MCP is introduced. Two MCP operational instances operated by each MCP instance provider are actively developing and will be released in the near future.

Simple use case

A user, who is a member of one of MCP instance providers, accesses to MSR and query to find a proper service for his/her own purpose. From the endpoint of the service given by MSR, the user requests service access to the service. The service then requests authentication to the user through MIR. If MIR returns response in which the user's identity is valid, the user is able to access and use the service[8]. The use of MMS may contribute to the better experience of message delivery in the use of service and the broader choice of communication channels such as non-IP based communication.

References

  1. "Maritime Connectivity Platform". maritimeconnectivity.net. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  2. "EfficienSea2 – Getting Connected". efficiensea2.org. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  3. "Sea Traffic Management Validation Project - STM -". Sea Traffic Management Validation Project - STM. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "한국형 e-Navigation 사업". http. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  5. "MINISTRY OF OCEANS AND FISHERIES>What's New - 'e-Navigation Maritime Services' trial run using the'world-first'LTE-Maritime network". www.mof.go.kr. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  6. "STM Validation – Final report".
  7. "Maritime Connectivity Platform". maritimeconnectivity.net. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  8. "MCP Identity Platform". developers.maritimeconnectivity.net. Retrieved 2020-02-13.