This year ShipInsight has combined the three guides in its Navigation and Bridge Series into one compendium edition. This will allow readers to explore the full range of inter-related regulation and equipment systems found on the bridges of modern vessels. The human element is also included with sections on Bridge Team management and ECDIS training alongside those areas of manning that are regulated un- der SOLAS and STCW.
Because it sits at the heart of the communications requirements of modern vessels, there is also a section on GMDSS. As well as its safety element, GMDSS also includes navigation and weather aspects and so is a good t in this guide. There is no doubt that the technological advances in navigation have made life a great deal easier for navigators but there are traditionalists who say that they have also had a detrimental effect on the skills needed to navigate safely. Today it is AIS, ECDIS and GPS that is taking some ak but much the same was said in the 1950s when radar was first making its way onto ships’ bridges.
GPS has revolutionised navigation and is used also for providing evidence of compliance with MARPOL and SOLAS requirements such as emis- sion controls and collision avoidance. All these aids to navigation have been welcomed by seafarers even if sometimes reservations have been made as to their effect on traditional skills.
The introduction of mandatory ECDIS to the bridge of all passenger vessels and cargo ships above 3,000gt is nearing the end of the initial roll-out programme. Along with the VDR and GPS, ECDIS provides the framework on which e-Navigation will be built although that would seem to suggest that smaller vessels will be outside of what eventually emerges.
Led by the EU, regulators and the IMO have firmly embraced e-navigation which is now also beginning to be linked with the concept of the autonomous unmanned ship. Projects involving both concepts are underway in various countries but the consensus is that while there may well be experimentation gaining universal acceptance is still some time in the future.
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