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Poor ECDIS training plays part in maritime accidents, says London P&I

Posted on 2nd October 2013

London P&I Club has said that poor crew training in electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS), and therefore their improper use, has been the cause of various recent maritime accidents.

It is crucial that all shipowners make sure that their crew members have been fully trained in how to use ECDIS devices to ensure that any nasty accidents are avoided. In a statement, the firm said: “It is essential that the navigator is not only effectively trained in the proper use of ECDIS, but also understands the limitations of the equipment and its primary role as a decision-support system. With a vast array of ECDIS manufacturers, there is a challenge for the navigator to reach an acceptable degree of competence in a specific onboard system.”

The company went on to say that both generic and familiarisation training must be high-quality so that any move to new technology is as seamless as possible. Furthermore, all protocols from external figures, such as Port State Control, must also be met.

This comes after a series of individuals have talked about the dangers improper ECDIS use can bring to vessels. Last week, International Hydrographic Organisation president Robert Ward spoke at IMO’s World Maritime Day about how digital ECDIS charts have caused many shipowners to become complacent in the data that is available to them, meaning that they will not offer the appropriate training to ship navigators.

Furthermore, trade union Nautilus International raised questions earlier this year over the quality of the Costa Concordia’s ECDIS after it sank off the island of Giglio in January 2012, leading to the deaths of 32 people.

If you have an ECDIS system on your vessel, it is vital that you invest enough time and money into proper training for your crew members to reduce the risk of any problems occurring down the line.