OCIMF (The Oil Companies International Marine Forum) has released a new information paper, Recommendations on Usage of ECDIS and Preventing Incidents, which provides guidance to enhance policies and procedures regarding the safe use of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS).
With more vessels using Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) for primary or secondary navigation, there have been several significant navigational incidents over the last decade where one of the contributing factors has been ECDIS-related. Recommendations on Usage of ECDIS and Preventing Incidents takes into account ECDIS-related navigational incident findings and safety-related observations from OCIMF’s Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE). To provide practical support and guidance, the information paper draws upon this analysis to provide recommendations for improving ECDIS-related practices and preventing ECDIS-related navigational incidents.
OCIMF Managing Director, Robert Drysdale, commented, “My view is that technology and digitalisation provide tools to ensure our industry will be successful and sustainable in the future. However, new technology can introduce unintended consequences if not planned, developed and introduced in a robust manner. Everyone recognises the benefits that ECDIS brings, but we have witnessed incidents caused through the misuse or misunderstanding of the technology. If followed, the recommendations contained in this information paper will help drive down the number of incidents associated with the use of ECDIS. I encourage all those who use ECDIS to read it and apply the recommendations.”
The information paper, which is available to download for free from www.ocimf.org, is aimed at ship owners, operators, Masters, Navigating Officers and bridge team members including pilots, as well as ECDIS system manufacturers. Key chapters in the information paper cover ECDIS carriage requirements, ECDIS training and familiarisation, passage planning and alarm management.
ECDIS was made mandatory on new tankers of 3,000gt and above in 2012 and for existing tankers of 3,000gt and above built before 2012 in 2015. Tankers and other cargo ships below 3,000gt are not required to carry ECDIS although many do.