ECDIS - Telemar's guide to safety, efficiency and compliance

Safety & Efficiency...
Regulations and Timetable...
Planning and Preparation ...
What is your plan? ...
Equipment Choice...
Flag State Certification ...
Port State Inspection ...
Starting the process ...

PC-Maritime Navamaster ECDIS Equipment and Support Services

Kelvin Hughes ECDIS

Transas ECDIS

ECDIS – Safety and Efficiency

But now it is agreed and the timetables laid down, by the IMO, it is time to implement.

"Amendments to the International Convention for SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) were approved by the IMO in June 2009, at the 86th session of the MSC (Maritime Safety Committee), for the mandating of ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display Information System)
These amendments result in the obligation for cargo vessels, tankers and large passenger ships to install and apply ECDIS to meet a timetable, which starts July 12th."

For more from the IMO - click here

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Complex regulations made easy

The regulations may seem complex and possibly confusing, with a lengthy adoption process.

However, there is much to do with regard to implementation and our aim is to make it as easy and as straightforward as possible for all our customers. We believe planning and timing are vital for getting the best from the technology.

The timescales for implementation are:

1. New Passenger Ships 500gt – July 2012
2. New Tankers 3000gt – July 2012
3. New Cargo Ships 10000gt – July 2013
4. New Cargo Ships 3000gt – July 2014
5. Existing Passenger Ships 500gt – July 2014
6. Existing Tankers 3000gt – July 2015
7. Existing Cargo 50000gt – July 2016
8. Existing Cargo 20000gt – July 2017
9. Existing Cargo 10000gt – July 2018

These dates are as issued by the IMO July 2009.

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Timing and Preparation

These implementation dates, on a rolling timetable, offer plenty of time for preparation and training, as well as for staged installation and application across fleets.

We are now working with operators to plan and prepare by offering flexible, modular systems and first class training; a complete package to meet ECDIS regulations for virtually any type of vessel.

Installing ECDIS becomes mandatory, starting July 2012. The rolling timetable provides a phased programme across vessel types:

  • New passenger vessels of 500 GT and
    upwards constructed on or after 1st July 2012.
  • New tankers of 3,000 GT and upwards
    constructed on or after 1st July 2012.
  • New cargo ships, other than tankers, of
    10,000 GT and upwards constructed on or
    after 1st July 2013.
  • New cargo ships, other than tankers, of
    3,000 GT and upwards but less than 10,000
    GRT constructed on or after 1st July 2014.
  • Existing passenger ships of 500 GT and
    upwards constructed before 1st July 2012 and no
    later than the first survey on or after 1st July
  • Existing tankers of 3,000 GT and upwards
    constructed before 1st July 2012 and no later
    than the first survey on or after 1st July 2015.
  • Existing cargo ships other than tankers of
    50,000 GT and upwards constructed before
    1st July 2013 and no later than the first survey on
    or after 1st July 2016.

Note: The new builds timetable is based on the date the keel is laid. Fitting ECDIS aboard existing ships is mandated in advance of the first survey, following the implementation date. Existing vessels less than 10,000gt are not required to install and operate ECDIS under the current proposals and Flag States may provide exemptions for vessels, which will be taken out of service within the two years prior to the implementation date.

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What's the plan?
ECDIS is a fundamental change in navigational procedure and the way it is carried out. Is not simply a change in equipment in order to meet the demands compliance. This is a change in culture, technique and management and one, which will demand preparation and planning.

A successful ECDIS install and implementation, whether for a fleet or a single vessel, will require careful thought and planning.

In addition to the equipment needed, training and changes in procedures will be required. On-going technical support and vector chart requirements and suppliers need to be considered.

There are various factors need to be considered to plan an implement a smooth transition to Digital Chart navigation.

Plans will depend on the type of fleet and its vessels' ages, what equipment is already on board and how you intend to provide backup.

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Choosing the Equipment
No matter whether you are fitting ECDIS in an integrated bridge system, installing a standalone unit or in need of a small unit for retrofitting in a restricted bridge situation, Navmaster provides a flexible modular system to fit all types and sizes of vessel.
You will also need to install a backup, though paper charts are the most commonly accepted way of meeting this requirement. However, this will depend on the vessel's Flag State, which may require the use of a Chart Radar or alternative type-approved electronic system.

You will also need to choose between fitting your ships with a dual or a single ECDIS system. A dual ECDIS (backup) installation will radically reduce the need for paper charts and, in some instances totally. Using a paper back-up is likely to require a full folio of charts or only a slightly reduced set.

But whatever you decide we will ensure compliance with the ship's Flag State Maritime Authority

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Staff and Crew Training
Successful transition to electronic chart navigation will require staff and crew training.
Most Flag States will require ships' officers, at least, to have received approved generic ECDIS operator training, based on a standard IMO model. The ISM Code also requires ships' officers to have training, which familiarises them with all the safety equipment on board.

Telemar (UK) can arrange and organise type specific training so as to satisfy the Flag State and independent audit authorities of your crew's competency in maintaining safety in the use of ECDIS.

Our training programmes are designed to help in the transition to ECDIS and to build the same level of confidence with electronic charts as with paper based charts.

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Flag State Certification

Existing regulations require Flag State certification. You will need to acquire a Certificate of Equivalency, allowing the use ECDIS for SOLAS chart requirements.

This proves the vessel as having a type approved ECDIS installed to meet IMO requirements and as having an approved back-up system. Another detail we will help you with and ensure that Flag State will accept the type-approval certification for the installed ECDIS equipment.

As part of ensuring compliance the equipment will need to be recorded and attached to the ship's safety equipment certificate and give details of the back-up system.

Other requirements may be applied by your classification society and insurers/P&I and you should check with them to see if they have any additional, specific requirements.

It is important to remain informed on the Flag State requirements as these may change following the adoption carriage requirements for ECDIS.

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Port State Inspections

Port State controls will check on ECDIS compliance. Such inspections may require demonstration of crew competence and evidence of the system being incorporated into the operational procedures related to ECDIS. This would be in addition to the Flag Sate certification.

The application of vetting schemes by some commercial operators, with similar requirements, may put the ship off-hire if the system does not comply.

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Getting Started. What's your Plan?

Though seemingly far into the future, the deadlines are not so far away as there are many aspects to ECDIS, which will need to be dealt with well in advance.

Sourcing and deciding on the equipment for each vessel is just one aspect. Training and implementation demands some forward planning as crew competence with ECDIS is a main feature of compliance.

Those used to using paper charts will need to become confident wit the technology and extend their skills to make it second nature to referring to digital charts. That may take time.

Effective training will play its part but time and practical application will also no doubt be needed.

Start planning now.

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