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Thursday, January 31, 2019 

Shipowner organisation BIMCO has reported on the 2019 meeting of the IMO's Navigation, Communication, Search and Rescue sub-committee (NCSR 6), which took place from 15-25 January in London.

Three documents forwarded for adoption in June are thought to help the industry move one step closer to the adoption of a standardised system for electronic navigation.

Since 2015 a correspondence group has been working on formulating and improving a set of guidelines for the design of navigational related data on bridge equipment, with the focus on the navigator. This work is now complete and three important measures were agreed upon at NCSR6. The documents outlining these measures will be discussed, and hopefully adopted, at the Marine Safety Committee (MSC) in June 2019.

The expected outcome is that all new Radar, ECDIS and integrated navigational displays (INS) from 1 January 2024 and all other displays on the bridge from 01 July 2025 will display information in a harmonised manner.

“This development is an important step which will bring great benefits to the seafarers. In the future, they will be able to easily familiarise themselves with the different bridge displays. In fact, the number of hours spent on familiarisation training can be reduced,” said Ashok Srinivasan, Manager, Maritime Technology and Regulation at BIMCO, who served on the NCSR sub-committee. “Above all, this will greatly assist the navigator in making better decisions and greatly contribute towards improvement in safety of navigation.”

The three documents that will be up for adoption at the IMO’s MSC meeting in June are:

  • Guidelines for the standardisation of user interface design for navigation equipment (Standardised mode). The formulated guidelines will apply to navigational equipment such as Electronic Chart display and information system (ECDIS), Integrated Navigation systems (INS) and Radar equipment.
  • Guidelines for the presentation of navigational-related symbols, terms and abbreviations (SN.1/Circ.243.Rev1). These guidelines have been completely revised.
  • Performance standards for the presentation of navigation-related information on shipborne navigational displays (MSC.191(79)). These standards have been amended.

An example of this harmonisation (once the standardisation is adopted) is when the user selects radar default settings, all radar equipment - irrespective of the make or model - will display exactly the same information. Additionally, 'True motion reset' will be performed by the touch of a single button on both ECDIS and Radar, across all makes and models. The functionalities will be standard across all Radars, ECDIS and Integrated Navigation displays on all ships, paving the way for smooth familiarisation and operation of these systems.

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