The V-RMTC is a virtual network connecting Maritime Operation Centers of member Navies. Through the system, based on commercial hardware and a software developed within the Italian Navy, it is possible to share among participants selected unclassified information related to merchant shipping (bigger than 300 tons).
The network is based on an Italian Navy homemade software called “Service-oriented infrastructure for MARitime Traffic tracking (SMART)”, currently evolving to the SMART FENIX release (as of 2018), with more tools and an advanced user interface.
The hub of the V-RMTC is located in Rome, at the Italian Maritime Operation Center (M.O.C.) of the Fleet Command Headquarter (CINCNAV). The Italian M.O.C. has the role of gathering and merging the information received, broadcasting a single near-real time recognized picture to all V-RMTC participating Navies.
The V-RMTC initiative was launched by the Italian Navy at the 5th Venice Regional Seapower Symposium edition (2004), recording the common will and urge to improve the situational awareness of the maritime domain and merchant traffic in the Mediterranean Region. Starting from an almost unanimous agreement, the group fostered the study of dedicated initiatives.
Based on this wide support, the Italian Navy started a technical analysis to find out a way to connect all Navies through a dedicated network, where to exchange unclassified information and data about merchant shipping, on a “push/pull” policy. At the same time, a legal framework was drafted (called Operational Arrangement).
At the 6th Venice Regional Seapower Symposium edition (2006), 17 Navies (Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Israel, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Turkey, UK, USA), belonging to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, adhered to the Initiative and signed the OA, thus giving effectiveness to the V-RMTC Initiative.
Started as a Pilot Project, it has been kept expanding steadily through years. For the V-RMTC had achieved a resounding success, it was suddenly decided to assess the possibility to further enlarge the Community considering a Trans-Regional application.
Thanks to the flexibility of the model and without additional expenses, Italy started a compatibility check to explore the feasibility of interfacing the V-RMTC system with the one owned by Brazilian, Indian and Singapore navies. The Italian Navy concluded positively the tests.
In 2009, the Community agreed unanimously to federate with those compatible Maritime Surveillance Systems, so in 2010, evolving in a Trans-Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN).
The V-RMTC community was then linked to the already existing similar projects of the Brazilian Navy Surveillance System (SISTRAM) and the Singapore Navy Surveillance System (OASIS).
The V-RMTC, through the years, has proved to be an effective instrument that, while enhancing the Maritime Situational Awareness, also strengthens mutual trust, builds confidence among shareholders and allow to create synergies by sharing information and resources.
Moreover, the information exchanged are somehow "guaranteed", which means that they have proved and reliable origins, while the exchange flow is strictly based on a “will-to-share” policy. In addition, every member can benefit from a low cost and user-friendly system, managed with a shareholding ownership.
However, the most valuable achievement is that the Operational Arrangement guarantees that the information shared would remain within the Community and cannot be released outside this circle; furthermore, the members have no obligation on what, and when to share their own information and data, but everybody can receive back the full maritime picture.
The V-RMTC model has indeed become an actual model for maritime traffic data exchange, being also applied from 2007 (on dedicated servers, managing different stockpile of data) within the “5+5” community (North Mediterranean countries: France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain; South Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia) and off the Lebanon coast (thanks to a dedicated agreement, V-SRMTC).
The community has currently a strength of 35 member Navies:
V-RMTC: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, U.K., U.S.A.;
T-RMN: Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Perù;
Ghana and Liberia started adhesion process according to silence-procedure: both African Nations will be able to join the Community during 2022.
Other Navies have shown an interest to join the Community, namely: Ivory Coast, Qatar, Australia, and Japan.
In the original Operational Arrangement, the Indian Navy has been indicated as
Technical Leading Navy
while in charge of the federated MSA system in the Indian Ocean, named
Maritime Surveillance Information System
(MSIS). Anyway, Indian navy signed the OA only on the last December 2018, linking the
Information Fusion Centre - Indian Ocean Region
to the T-RMN.