Page 52: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Q1 2011)

Maritime Risk

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52 Maritime Professional 1Q 2011 to being an ECS. Such control measures have been develop- ing for many years, with the first set of performance standards being issued in 1995. Used correctly, an ECDIS is an IMO risk-assessed tool that can save money by replacing paper charts. Ensuring the first is much harder than realizing the second goal.

ECDIS TRAINING: BEYOND MERE COMPLIANCE

Beyond the “stick” of STCW requirements, there are sig- nificant reasons why training is so important, especially if you’re talking about the “carrot” of risk reduction. In actual practice, ECDIS navigation is likely easier than paper navi- gation, but it’s only safe if the user understands the limita- tions of the equipment and risks of overreliance. For that rea- son, traditional navigators are wary – and for good reason:

It’s different and it’s not just simply another new system, it’s a critical system – one that changes the way a bridge is man- aged. Conversely, young navigators are overconfident – wit- ness the false sense of security provided by GPS.

TRAINING SPECIFICS

The UK-based Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) flagship course, delivered both directly by the company and also by other schools and organisations on a sub-contracted basis, is based on the IMO 1.27 course model, but features additional emphasis on crucial topics such as additional sen- sor integration and the continued use of ECDIS following the loss of sensor inputs (heading / gyro compass, speed log, and a GNSS system, typically GPS).

Once the background and principles of ECDIS have been covered, the primary aim of the course is to discourage over- reliance on a computer and to remind the student that in the same way as paper navigation did not depend on having GPS, neither does ECDIS. Indeed, throughout the course, the con- tinuing emphasis is risk mitigation – defining ECDIS as a sig- nificant tool for situational awareness and a valuable aid to navigation, but one which must also be proven correct.

COVERAGE VERSUS IMPLEMENTATION

The world is moving into the digital age swiftly.

Notwithstanding the latest ECDIS performance standards, in force since 1 Jan 2009, modern systems have progressed beyond that which was available just a few years ago. All 800 major ports and the majority of the world are expected to be covered by electronic navigation charts (ENC) by mid-2013.

The 6 year ECDIS implementation plan of ship installations starts next year. This, coupled with the Manila Amendments clarifying STCW ECDIS training requirements coming into force 01 Jan 2012, arguably makes the decision to wait any longer moot.

The choice of going fully digital or staying with paper is still up to individual companies, but the fitting and training may not. The sooner arrangements are in place to start the fleet / on-board development of digital navigation procedures, the better the system will be by the time paper charts start dis- appearing. And that could be just around the corner. In the end, the greater the understanding of the complexities involved, the safer the transition will be. Finally, a plethora of structured ECDIS navigation safety management systems are now available, any number of which can be used to great effect, through “lessons learned.”

But, not from the sidelines.

ECDIS TRAINING & EDUCATION

ECDIS Adoption Checklist • Choose ECDIS and Data carefully from a myriad of sources. • Check flag State requirements for fit, training and accreditation (avoid fit prior to training to prevent untrained ‘de-facto’ ECDIS navigation). • Generic training (STCW) IMO1.27 ECDIS Course (verify acceptance by flag State). • Type Specific training (ISM) chosen ECDIS familiarisation course (for each officer prior to joining). • Fit ECDIS in a timely manner to avoid skill fade from training. • Develop Safety Management System including CSOs while maintaining paper primary. • Obtain flag State survey and accreditation (if required) for adoption into Safety Equipment Certificate and approval to operate paperless. • Commence using ECDIS as a replacement for paper charts. (Courtesy ECDIS Ltd.)

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