IMO backs mandatory ECDIS
July 3 2008
The years of debate about the mandatory carriage of ECDIS (electronic chart display information systems) seem to come to a conclusion.
In IMO’s subcommittee on navigation members have reached a consensus in favour of making ECDIS mandatory for ocean going vessels.
2012 has been mentioned as a possible implementation date, but this is still subject to confirmation.
Last year’s meeting of this committee also considered mandatory ECDIS, and featured an in-depth study by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) outlining some of the safety benefits that could result from carriage of ECDIS.
These proposals were rejected then, and the consideration of mandatory ECDIS postponed until this year’s meeting.
For new build passenger ships of 500 gt and above and tankers of 3,000 gt and over, ECDIS becomes compulsory from July 1, 2012, and for other newbuilding vessels at dates up to 2014. For existing vessels the phase in period is from 2014-2018, depending on type and size, although there is an exemption clause for vessels within two years of their end of life.
It would seem that the arguments of some IMO-members have now proven convincing enough for the subcommittee to accept such a move this time around, and that ECDIS will become a standard feature in future vessels.
Electronic charts may prevent one in three groundings
If Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) are made mandatory on board ships, the number of groundings is likely to be reduced by a third according to a study carried out by Det Norske Veritas, a Scandinavian classification society.
Read the full study: http://research.dnv.com/skj/FSA-ENC/ENC.pdf (download)
The effect of ECDIS has been documented in previous studies.
The main finding in the DNV study is that the coverage of electronic charts in coastal waters is already very good and improving:
Grounding – the second biggest risk
For many ship types, collision is the dominant risk, while grounding is second. In a previous study DNV has documented that ECDIS is a preventive measure, reducing the probability of grounding by well above one third when electronic nautical charts are available.
Should be mandatory
“These results support that an Electronic Chart Display and Information System should be implemented as a mandatory requirement for most ships,” comments DNV’s CEO Henrik O. Madsen. “Besides, the more ships that install such equipment, the more electronic charts are likely to be produced.”
The DNV report, which used the Formal Safety Assessment and the IMO risk evaluation criteria, concluded by recommending a relatively fast implementation plan.