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NI hits out at ECDIS procedures


NI hits out at ECDIS procedures
(Nov 28 2012)

ECDIS implementation has given rise to confusion in regards to generic training and familiarisation with on board systems, an industry group warned.

Organised and co-ordinated by The Nautical Institute (NI) and comprising leading international shipping industry organisations, meetings have been held since 2011 to produce guidance to clarify the requirements for competency in relation to ECDIS.

The term `type specific' as used by some administrations is not referred to by this industry group. After discussion, it was agreed that only the terms `generic training' and `familiarisation' were covered by IMO instruments (STCW 2010 and ISM respectively), the NI said.

This particular guidance deals with the need for competency following familiarisation with ECDIS specific to on board equipment and its arrangements. This familiarisation will be complementary to ECDIS generic training.

The regulatory requirements for ECDIS familiarisation are covered by the ISM Code (including sections 6.3 & 6.5) and the STCW Convention Regulation I/14, which require a company to establish procedures to ensure that new personnel and personnel transferred to new assignments related to safety and protection of the environment are given proper familiarisation with their duties.

It was recognised by all the guidance signatories that ECDIS, as defined by the IMO when implemented, will be one of the most important navigation and decision support tools. Its complexity should be recognised and the ability of watchkeeping officers to be competent and confident in its operation, including peripheral equipment and actual version(s) of software and charts, as part of the shipboard navigational system, is essential for safety, security and protection of the marine environment, the NI said.

Following the successful demonstration of competencies contained in the ECDIS generic training, familiarisation is the process required to become familiar with any on board ECDIS (including back-up) in order to assure and demonstrate competency in relation to a specific ship's ECDIS installation, prior to taking charge of a navigation watch.

Familiarisation should cover initial preparation; basic operations; charts; navigational tools and functions; route planning and route monitoring. It includes any pertinent information required for ECDIS' safe operation, including all updates and alterations.

The NI said that companies should have clear procedures for using ECDIS and assisting the navigators in completion of the familiarisation process.

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