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Live from SMM Hamburg

UKHO warns 58% of tankers not ready for ECDIS

UKHO warns 58% of tankers not ready for ECDIS
The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), provider of  navigational charts, is using its platform at SMM to draw attention to some research undertaken demonstrating that, 10 months before the deadline for ECDIS, 58% of tanker owners have not installed a system on their ships.

Captain Paul Hailwood, a mariner working with UKHO, who has spent the last three years conducting ECDIS preparedness seminars around the world, raises a number of prevailing issues facing ECDIS implementation around the world.

“We’ve had some tanker companies who are early adopters, and one company, no longer trading… got right in there, did all the training – waste of time. Because then, the regulations change, and they had to upgrade all the hardware and fit new equipment.

“Yes, less than half the fleet is ready, but it’s not because they are trying to avoid it,” Hailwood explained. “It’s more a case of not understanding the complexity of the issue.”

Hailwood gave an example of one shipping company which ran into numerous technical difficulties with incompatible equipment, having originally been quoted EUR50,000 ($64,591) to fit an ECDIS and: “18 months later, nearly EUR2m later, and they eventually got there.”

In another example, an ECDIS was fitted to a vessel calling at an Australian port but no training was provided. “The port state control there said, you have one of two options – either you fly out a whole new crew with ECDIS training before the ship sails, or you take this ECDIS off the ship, so the superintendent said ‘chop it off, throw it in the bin’.”

“There’s this misconception that ECDIS is just this piece of equipment that I can buy, plug in and away we go – there is a whole cultural change in the way in which we navigate.

“The potential for safety issues is huge if we’re not trained, and that takes time. This misconception of ‘because I can navigate with paper, I can navigate with ECDIS’ is wrong.”