While welcoming the new mandatory requirement to have electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS) as the principal means of navigation on board merchant ships, the UK P&I Club is warning shipowners and managers about potential problems associated with its implementation.
Karl Lumbers, a director of London-based Thomas Miller P&I Ltd, managers of the UK P&I Club, stated: “ECDIS is not an easy ride. There are still thousands of seafarers who will need to be trained and safety management systems will need to be revised.
“It will in many cases restrict the flexibility owners/managers currently enjoy to switch officers between the different ships in their fleets and we have seen already that Port State Control inspectors will be looking closely at ships’ ECDIS arrangements to ensure compliance.”
Mr Lumbers continued: “Although ECDIS should make the navigation of ships so much easier, we expect that its incorrect use will feature regularly in accident inquiries. Humans tend to put a great deal of trust in machines but machines sometimes fail. There will still be a need to look out of the bridge windows regularly.
The UK P&I Club has produced a 16-page guide to the mystery surrounding ECDIS and this is available in hard copy from the Club or as a pdf file from the club’s website.
More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - November 2011 Issue
Click here to subscribe