Going paperless By Kevin Reeder
Publicado por mjsigol
Open the ECDIS timeline in new window here
ECDIS is now firmly established as the key platform for the transition to ENCs and electronic navigation. In a recent column in Digital Ship, Dr. Andy Norris called ECDIS a very special case that has “introduced new concepts of navigation and now finds itself at the forefront of e-Navigation, not least giving us much better insight into how its future components should be configured and introduced.”
As the SOLAS-mandated carriage of ECDIS gradually extends to more ship segments, its adoption is ramping up. Most SOLAS-class passenger vessels and newbuild tankers and cargo ships already have ECDIS onboard — and the rest should have a plan for implementing it.
However, the really big push begins in July 2015 when existing tankers over 3,000 gross tonnes size are required to carry ECDIS. This means that owners and operators of more than 9,000 tankers now have just 10 months time to comply with ECDIS regulations.
While very significant, this pales in comparison to the next wave of deadlines coming from July 2016 to July 2018. They apply to cargo ships of 10,000 gross tonnes and above – the vast majority of the SOLAS class commercial fleet.
Luckily, mandated vessels are not required to have installed ECDIS before their first survey after the implementation date, which could well be a year or two later. Nevertheless, experts say the key to a successful digital transition is early preparation, and there are good reasons for this.
Two of the key ones, as Dr. Andy Norris points out, are that ECDIS is the first software-complex statutory system installed on the bridge of many vessels, and that it involves new layers of chart management.
Singapore-based Thome Ship Management was an early adopter of ECDIS and of the “dual fuel” approach of using much cheaper vector charts (backed by paper charts) to familiarize its mariners in ECDIS operations before going to full-blown ENCs. As its group fleet manager Arbind Singhsays, “We started installing ECDIS along with Jeppesen’s C-Map charts in 2007, and this year we decided to transition the fleet to ENCs.”
After delving into the maze of licensing methods, services and providers, Thome wanted to avoid the administrative nightmare of ENC licensing and decided to use Jeppesen FlatFee. “It makes ENC management simple,” says Singh,
“there’s no chart conversion onboard ship, we don’t have to worry about software and operation of equipment and costs are predictable.”
According to John Psychas at Jeppesen Hellas, “FlatFee simplifies the entire ENC process, from ordering, licensing and installing to updating, administering and budgeting – and takes care of this at a fixed price.”
Another reason Thome started the transition early was the prediction of ECDIS deadlines creating a crew training bottleneck. It has therefore adopted a proactive, step-by-step approach.
“We have implemented FlatFee on four vessels but will not declare them “paperless” until all the crews are fully trained. We then plan to roll FlatFee out across the fleet, beginning with tankers and then bulk carriers, in line with ECDIS deadlines,” explains Arbind Singh.