The Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies
(MITAGS) and the Crescent River Port Pilots Association
(CRPPA) have announced the partnering efforts of the Crescent River Port Pilots and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District (USACE-MVN) to develop and produce the innovative Mini-Inland Electronic Navigational Chart, dubbed Mini-IENC. The Mini-IENC provides essential, special vertical and horizontal navigation clearance information to the CRPPA while piloting the Carnival Conquest under the low lying Chalmette Powerlines located Mile 89.2 on the Lower Mississippi River.
Additionally, the Mini-IENC is being used extensively for Vessel Traffic Management and Decision-making ship handling exercises by the CRPPA in the MITAGS ship-handling simulator.
In response to a special navigation situation, the Crescent River Pilots, responsible for piloting the ultra-large cruise ship,
Carnival Conquest, turned to the USACE-MVN to design and produce the Mini-IENC, a specialized, large-scale version of the Inland Electronic Navigational Chart (IENC.) The Mini-IENC consists of simplistic-standardized navigation principles compiled using sophisticated computations, augmented by unique virtual navigational buoys which perform the same navigation function as real buoys with the exception they are "virtual, not spatial features." These Virtual-Buoys are essential to provide a recognizable charting navigation symbol routinely used by pilots, in an out-of-the-ordinary area where heavy-traffic-volumes prevent placement of buoys and their staying on location. The Mini-IENC, along with its virtual buoys, is ideally suited for the large-scale charting requirements essential for relative and absolute orientation of a large ship through a narrow opening.