Warning on use of ECDIS
With ECDIS becoming mandated for ships' navigation, insurers warn of a sharp learning curve ahead.
Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) are to become mandatory in ships engaged on international voyages progressively from July 2012. But whilst welcoming this move by IMO, the UK P&I Club is warning shipowners and managers about potential problems ahead.
The Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Club - a mutual marine insurance association - warns that the introduction will not be an easy ride, with thousands of seafarers needing to be trained and safety management systems requiring revision.
The Club believes that this could restrict the flexibility to switch officers between ships, and that Port State Control inspectors will look closely at ships' ECDIS compliance - the risk of vessel detention for non-compliance is very real.
It adds that, although ECDIS should make navigation easier, its incorrect use will feature regularly in accident inquiries . . machines sometimes fail and there will still be a need to look out of bridge windows.
The Club also warns that it is imperative to store recorded data safely - if it can't be found, there will be an immediate suspicion of guilt.
The UK P&I Club cconcludes by stressing that it is very much in favour of ECDIS - but it comes with a learning curve, during which time incidents and errors are more likely to occur.
A series of ECDIS booklets is available at the UK P&I link. Details from Marine Log below.