WFSA to host 2019 Ferry Safety and Technology Conference

WFSA to host 2019 Ferry Safety and Technology Conference
Local ferry operator Chao Phraya Express Co. will help to host the conference in Thailand (Image: Chao Phraya Express Boat Co.)

Worldwide Ferry Safety Association (WFSA) and local ferry operator Chao Phraya River Boat Co. are to co-host the fifth annual Ferry Safety and Technology Conference in Bangkok, Thailand from 20-22 February 2019.

The conference showcases practical technologies that improve safety, with a strong focus on the developing world. Key topics will include new high‐quality ferry systems; how developing inland waterways could improve safety for ferries in India and Bangladesh; and the impact of a new US Coast Guard-endorsed method of transmitting real-time hazardous weather information directly to vessels via automatic identification systems (AIS).

Presentations will focus on how governments and operators can acquire AIS, as mandated by the International Maritime Organization, while leaders from the ASEAN Regional Forum will discuss a new programme for information exchange about appropriate technologies. A vendor of shoebox‐sized satellites that will soon be launched to vastly improve communications for the equatorial Pacific will also give a presentation.

Delegates will also be able to attend a panel on training, where ferry operators will showcase their innovative methods for employing onboard and e‐learning technologies to enhance passenger safety and operational efficiency. This will be supported by a presentation from a Philippines start-up on virtual reality and maritime training. Other presentations will explore maritime insurance.

Winners of the international student design competition for safe affordable ferries will also be able to present their innovative ideas. This year, students were tasked with designing a passenger ferry for the Pasig River in Manila, Philippines.

“Manila traffic is legendary to the point that walking is reliably faster than vehicles,” said Roberta Weisbrod, executive director of WFSA. “The Manila municipal government is planning a multi‐stop ferry along the Pasig River, which the city grew around and is the locus of commercial and public activities. The students have been tasked with designing a ferry that would make express stops supplementing the planned service. Major navigational challenges are low bridges and waterborne vegetation and debris.”

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys
14 November 2018