ECDIS Part 3 : Problems!!

For Sale: One careful owner!!     Photo: JCB

In part 2 I mentioned that one of the key problems of ECDIS was the lack of training, especially type specific training. I have now piloted around 20 vessels which are navigating solely on ECDIS with no paper charts and only on four of these have I found all officers fully conversant with the functions and confident that they could safely navigate their vessel without the familiar paper chart as a back up. Somewhat unsurprisingly these four vessels were Scandinavian tankers from the top companies and all the officers had attended type specific courses for their particular ECDIS in addition to the generic ECDIS course offered by the training colleges. However, in contrast to these examples of “best practice”, on five of these vessels there was only one officer who understood the ECDIS and its functions and on all of these this was the second officer and he alone seemed to be totally responsible for planning the voyage and plotting the route on the ECDIS. So far as I could ascertain, none of the officers, including the 2nd Officer, on these ships had received any type specific training but had been expected to glean the full operating functions of their particular ECDIS from the manufacturer’s manual. The manuals from all the manufacturers seem to run to 500 pages or more so it’s hardly surprising that responsibility for wading through it and getting to grips with the functions is delegated to the 2nd Mate who is officer traditionally responsible for chartwork and navigation. Of the remainder of the vessels Admittedly 20 ships is a very small sample and my data collection methodology probably wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny but as a very rough indicator it would suggest that 20% of vessels have good understanding and good procedures in place, 60% have a reasonable working knowledge but worryingly around 20% are at high risk of being involved in a navigational incident either as a result of ignorance of the ECDIS features of display modes or as a result of single person error by the navigating officer in planning the passage. This may seem an alarming statement but the dangers are real.

When is a chart not a chart?

Navigation by use of ECDIS requires a totally new thought process which expects navigators to forget the traditional paper chart and chartwork practice. This revolutionary change to the way ships are navigated has been neatly summarised by Christian Hempstead, Associate Professor at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, who states that “ECDIS-based navigation requires the mental integration of all the displayed digital and graphical  information with the visual scene and with the projected motion of the vessel and with the surrounding situation as it unfolds”.

Photo JCB

The vector chart is a highly complex three dimensional interactive chart which requires not only detailed knowledge of the vector chart concept but also detailed knowledge of how to access essential functions, many of which may be hidden away in menus and sub menus. This menu based system for hiding information is just one of the many operational minefields associated with ECDIS because, as with radar, the information displayed has not been “user led” but decided by the whims of the multifarious manufacturers! This manufacturer led development of ECDIS has in effect created one of the most serious problems with ECDIS because of the conflict it causes with the chart familiarity contained within the STCW95 requirements. There have been concerns in some quarters that whilst the carriage of ECDIS is due to become mandatory between 2012 and 2018 there is currently no requirement for officers to be trained since the IMO model course has yet to be incorporated into the STCW requirements. However STCW 95 is quite specific in that it states that a navigating officer must possess “a thorough knowledge of and ability to use navigational charts and publications…” He must show “…..evidence of skills and ability to prepare for and conduct a passage, including interpretation and applying information from charts”. Therefore If ECDIS is used in place of a paper chart, the navigator must demonstrate the same degree of knowledge and competency concerning the use of ECDIS as with a conventional chart. I have recently piloted a Finish Ro-Ro vessel fitted with ECDIS and all the officers had been on a 4 day course for the model fitted to their company’s fleet of vessels. This course was in addition to the 5 day generic ECDIS course that they had already attended but would not be valid if they transferred to a vessel fitted with a different system. Whatever happens, all this reveals a fundamental weakness in the ECDIS concept whereby although the official Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) displayed by the ECDIS can only be produced and updated by authorised hydrographic offices to very strict performance standards, the way in which this official chart data is accessed for use has been left to the manufacturers! As to how officers would be trained to use the system wasn’t given much consideration thus leaving the hapless mariner to muddle along the best he can!

Different ECDIS = Different Screen & Menus!      Photos: JCB

With so many different manufacturers and so many different operating systems how is the shipping industry going to cope? Just getting officers through the generic course is going to be a serious challenge within the time frame but getting the type specific training as well is a potential quagmire! In order to clarify the training requirements for ECDIS a revision to the STCW 95 was adopted by the IMO at the Manila conference in June this year which will come into force on 1st January 2012. So, are we going to see ships delayed because no officer has had the appropriate type training? I very much doubt it because, the way I interpret the amendment, the IMO requirements stop short of actually making the ship owner responsible for ensuring that their watchkeepers are fully type specific trained! Indeed the wording contained within the Manila amendment seems to pass the ultimate responsibility onto the seafarer! The responsibilities of companies is contained in section B-1/14          ;

1. Companies should provide ship-specific introductory programmes aimed at assisting newly employed seafarers to familiarize themselves with all procedures and equipment relating to their areas of responsibility It seems that its the interpretation of “introductory programmes” that’s important here! This could be merely to ensure that training manuals are put on board since the same B-1/14 also states under “crew members” that:

4.“Immediately upon arriving on board for the first time, each seafarer has the responsibility to become acquainted with the ship’s working environment, particularly with respect to new or unfamiliar equipment, procedures or arrangements.

5 Seafarers who do not promptly attain the level of familiarity required for performing their duties have the obligation to bring this fact to the attention of their supervisor …. and to identify any equipment, procedure or arrangement which remains unfamiliar”.

Note that for companies the requirement is that they “should provide” but the seafarer “has responsibility”. Could this mean that if a company ensures that appropriate instruction manuals are placed on board but the new crew member fails to read / understand them and then fails to notify anyone that he hasn’t then he is at fault rather than the company? Perhaps I’m just getting cynical in my old age!

MV “CFL Performer”

Photo: MAIB

So, is all this ECDIS training necessary or are the concerns just alarmist exaggerations? The answer is provided by the MAIB who have already investigated several ECDIS related groundings of which the most revealing is the grounding of the CFL Performer. This vessel is a general cargo ship built in 2007 fitted with an approved ECDIS and therefore doesn’t carry any paper charts. In April 2008 the ship was carrying 6020 tonnes of Bauxite from Paramaribo to the Humber and because the Master was concerned about arriving in time for the tide the route was amended on the ECDIS to take a short cut through the Haisborough Sands to the pilot boarding ground. However, an error was made whereby the course was set to pass over a sand bank rather than in the adjacent channel and the vessel duly went aground. It was daylight at the time with good weather. Fortunately, the Master was able to refloat the vessel using the engines and there was minimal damage and no pollution.

The subsequent investigation by the MAIB highlighted several failings, all directly attributable to unfamiliarity with the ECDIS on board. Firstly, it is almost certain that had the passage been amended by re-drawing the courses on a paper chart, the course across the shoal would have been immediately evident but this initial error was compounded by the 2nd Mate who was on watch at the time. Quoting from the report, shortly before the grounding, “the master, who was in his cabin, felt a change in the vessel’s vibrations. He called the second officer and instructed him to check the depth of water. The second officer looked at the ECDIS display and reported to the master that there was no cause for concern. The depth sounder was not switched on”. Since he didn’t put the echo sounder on it seems that the 2nd Mate glanced at the ECDIS and seeing that the vessel was on track was satisfied that no danger existed! Whilst alongside at Grimsby the vessel was detained due to deficiencies by Port State control and one of the deficiencies was that the ship’s officers weren’t trained in the use of ECDIS and one of the non conformities found during an ISM audit of the vessel by Lloyd’s was the navigating officers’ lack of familiarity with, and incorrect use of, the ECDIS system on board.

When the vessel had been commissioned, the owners had ensured that the Captain and 1st Mate received type specific training but this wasn’t provided for officers who subsequently joined the ship and the MAIB found the following:

Of the officers on board at the time of the grounding, neither the chief officer nor the second officer was trained in the operation of ECDIS, but both had used such equipment on previous ships. The master had no previous experience or training on ECDIS or any other form of electronic navigation system. None of the officers were aware of the significance of the safety contour, the safety depth, and the shallow and deep contours, and did not know how to establish a watch vector ahead of the vessel, or its significance. They also did not know how to use the ‘check page’ to ensure that all course lines and associated channel limits were clear of navigational dangers. With reference to type specific training, the report makes the following observation:

The chief and second officers on board CFL Performer had used an ECDIS on previous ships. However, the factors listed in Paragraph 2.2 indicate that neither had an acceptable working knowledge of the operation of the Furuno FEA-2107. Although ECDIS’ must meet the specific performance standards set by the IMO, manufacturers inevitably vary aspects of equipment operation in order to remain commercially competitive. This has led to differences between systems in terms of menus, terminology and equipment interface. Such differences can be marked and, although operations manuals are provided, these are not always easily understood. A mariner’s proficiency in the use of a particular system is therefore undoubtedly best served by the provision of equipment-specific training, regardless of any previous training and experience.

To me that statement seems to confirm that the commercial interests of the manufacturers rather than the needs of the mariner have been allowed to dictate ECDIS development! The other aspect of ECDIS use highlighted in this report is the change in mental attitude of a watchkeeper using ECDIS and the report makes the following observation with respect to this:

“…the OOW relied on ECDIS alarms to warn when the vessel was approaching an alteration of course or was more than 185m off the intended track. In effect, the monitoring of the vessel’s progress was undertaken by the ECDIS, while the OOW spent much of his watch preparing for forthcoming audits and passage planning. The second officer presumed that the vessel would be safe providing she remained within the channel. Consequently, he paid little attention to where the vessel was heading, and did not:

-Investigate the significance of the South Haisbro’ cardinal mark and the Mid Haisbro’ starboard conical buoy, which the vessel passed at a distance of about 1 mile;

-Check the new course before altering

-See the eddies or disturbed water…

-Ensure that the echo sounder was switched on, particularly when the master raised concern regarding the depth of water.

Such actions are fundamental to the duties of an OOW, and would have undoubtedly helped to identify the shallows ahead of the vessel in sufficient time for successful avoiding action to be taken. ECDIS provides a potentially invaluable asset to passage planning. However, there is a danger that many bridge watchkeepers will increasingly trust what is displayed without question. As this case demonstrates, such trust can be misplaced. The need for bridge watchkeepers to remain vigilant and continuously monitor a vessel’s position in relation to navigational hazards remains valid, regardless of the electronic aids available.

Feedback from deep sea pilots and concerned masters suggests that such practices are alarmingly commonplace amongst the younger officers!

Other Problems

Even if the watchkeepers have been fully trained to use their particular ECDIS ,there are an increasing number of operational problems being uncovered during usage, including some potentially serious problems with the actual official ENC data that underpins it.

Screen size

One universal complaint that I have encountered is the small screen area actually available on the ECDIS screen for the chart display. The specification is for a minimum screen size of 27cm x 27cm which, compared to a paper chart, is minuscule but the vast majority of ECDIS displays that I have seen have been that size or only slightly larger. Obviously the size dates from the inception of ECDIS over a decade ago when LCD screen monitors were still in development and even the flat screen cathode ray tube TV was a novel and expensive innovation, but with a good quality 23 inch (59cm) monitor now costing less than £200 and even a 42 inch (107cm) public display monitor costing less than £1000 it does beg the question as to why the ECDIS manufacturers / suppliers aren’t offering larger displays. I realise that the ECDIS requires rigid screen specifications but that’s what the developers should be working on especially since a 42inch display would fit very neatly into the redundant chart table!! The problem of screen size is confirmed by the following complaint posted on the Nautical Institute’s ECDIS forum (

Due to the size of the screen, an over view of the problems when checking passages, explaining to navigators where I want to go etc, if the range is increased on the ECDIS it is very hard to see small items of information, particularly soundings near to the course line. This has led to what could be called near misses in the passage planning stage. The only way to check the passage plan effectively is to decrease the range to say 6 miles and then keep moving the screen along over the course. Time spent in this when on a relatively short passage of say 400 miles is rather time consuming and not a very effective use of time. Also with short turnarounds in port it can at times be an issue.

Other problems that I have been made aware of are too numerous to list here but an example of confusing anomalies is the following screen shots taken by a deep sea pilot where changing ranges caused part of a charted bank to totally disappear!

Most ECDIS seem to run on standard computers under the Microsoft Windows operating system and most ECDIS only vessels that I have piloted have experienced the hard drive failures, crashes, screen freezing and slow running common to all computers. Fortunately, the back up unit has enabled the navigation of the vessel to continue safely but I have received one report of a black out where the emergency generator failed to start so both ECDIS units failed. Although power was restored fairly rapidly it apparently took a considerable time to reboot the ECDIS. Fortunately, this occurred well out to sea but the consequences of such a failure in confined waters are worrying. The good news is that I haven’t yet heard of any ECDIS being infected by a virus or trojan but some observers believe that such an attack is inevitable!

The Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC)

As detailed in parts 1 & 2 the heart of an approved ECDIS is the ENC which is produced by registered hydrographic offices to very exacting data standards known as S-57. However, the ENC is highly complex and although the data is exactly the same as for a paper chart, in order to prevent overloading the navigator ( that small screen again) much of the data present on a paper chart is stored away on different layers or is accessed by clicking on charted “objects” to obtain detailed information via what is termed a “pick report” The adjacent photos show a paper chart and the equivalent ECDIS standard display of the same area. This is an interesting chart area because it contains many features which, in my opinion, reveal some serious anomalies in the ENC data formatting.

Photos: JCB

As can be seen all of the written information is missing from the ECDIS display and whilst some detail will appear when the range is changed, other information can only be obtained via a pick report. This particular area of the Thames Estuary isn’t a compulsory pilotage district for certain classes of vessel up to 90m in length so this lack of chart information can cause major problems for even the best run vessels and the VTS. For passage planning purposes, a navigator setting a course through the Precautionary Area on a paper chart will immediately notice the fact that this is an area where anchoring is prohibited and can check the printed notes on the chart. During the transit, the watchkeeper will be familiar with the symbology and read the notes and exercise the required caution whilst transiting. In contrast, on the ECDIS, the missing text, combined with the lack of shading delineating the Oaze Precautionary Area is very confusing with the two caution areas being so close. The only way that a navigator will discover the legend “vessels other than fishing and pleasure craft are to avoid this zone” is by wading through the pages of data that are presented when a pick report for the area is requested. As to how many navigators will have either the time or inclination to undertake the laborious process of getting pick reports for areas along their proposed route is another question that needs to be addressed! It also explains the reason why all watchkeepers who I have encountered prefer the raster electronic chart to the official vector ECDIS. Is this text information actually important in 2010? Well yes, because if VTS broadcasts information relevant to a precautionary area, a navigator unfamiliar with the district will have no way of knowing if the information is relevant to his vessel unless this information has been accessed and noted as part of the passage planning process. It is also no use for just the navigator preparing the passage to be aware of this information because whoever is on watch at the relevant time also needs to be aware. Quite how this can be achieved is problematic but best practice would suggest written notes, either on screen or hard copy, to accompany the passage should be produced but again this would be a very laborious and time consuming process which would seem to defeat the object of electronic charting. In my opinion, practical usage aspects such as this represent a fundamental failure of the developers of ECDIS to comprehend how competent navigators actually use a paper chart! This isn’t an exaggeration because in this particular area the place where this missing text causes the most problems in practice is the Mouse Anchorage. This anchorage is used by the small vessels prior to entering their compulsory pilotage districts for London or the Medway so they are frequently requested to anchor there by VTS, but how is a navigator expected to know where it is on an ECDIS if he’s never visited the port before? The answer to that question was part of the reason for my writing this part 3 ECDIS feature. Having heard several small vessels report in to VTS with their details and, upon being instructed to anchor in the Mouse anchorage to await their pilot, requesting the Latitude and Longitude of the anchorage, my (and other pilots) thoughts were naturally that “if he doesn’t know where the mouse anchorage was he should take a pilot”! It was only whilst piloting an ECDIS only vessel that I noticed the absence of the name on the anchorage and discovered that even by changing ranges the name didn’t appear. Checking the other named anchorages revealed the same problem. Interestingly the numbered and lettered individual anchorages off Southend and Shoebury do appear when the display is zoomed in (Z12 & W1 in the top left of the above ECDIS picture). So how does a navigator find the names of the general anchorage areas? Well, if he doesn’t know where the anchorage is then the answer is that it’s almost impossible especially on the above ECDIS display! On the screen shot the vessel Fast Sam is at anchor in the Mouse anchorage whose boundary is very faintly marked by a pecked magenta line. To find the name of this anchorage the navigator first has to find it and then click within it which provides a bewildering index of information about the anchorage, but not the name!

I consider myself to be a relatively normal human being so I assumed that it would be contained in the “General Information” page. Wrong! This page actually contains data about the ENC rather than the area that was clicked on. To get the name of the anchorage it is necessary to click on the 11th index item “anchorage Area” and this finally brings up the name!

photos JCB

So, what this actually reveals is that the hapless Captain is actually taking the only practical course of action open to him by asking the VTS for the Latitude & Longitude of the anchorage but such a request could potentially cause the vessel to be classed as “non compliant” for port entry with all the associated implications for the vessel and owners.

Strange symbology!

The problems don’t just end with this missing text data because I have also discovered that the actual delineation of areas is seemingly not only different to the established symbology of the paper chart but is again left up to the manufacturers. I have already noted that the lack of boundary shading on the Precautionary Area limits make it difficult for the navigator to readily differentiate between the Precautionary Area and Restricted zone but there are also anomalies with respect to the magenta boundary markings. On the paper chart there are crossed anchors at regular intervals along the boundary so it’s immediately obvious to any navigator that anchoring is prohibited within this area but on the ECDIS no such crossed anchor symbols exist. Instead they have been replaced by a single ( again very faint) crossed anchor adjacent to the exclamation mark. On other ECDIS they have replaced the shading with inward facing pointers and have placed light magenta hatching across the area to help the navigator but again the crossed anchors are missing from the boundary having again been replaced by an insignificant single crossed anchor symbol hidden within the area! The inclusion of crossed anchors on a boundary obviously isn’t a problem for manufacturers because the same ECDIS had crossed anchors bordering the Yantlet dredged channel although it’s  interesting to note that on the paper chart there are no crossed anchors on that Channel boundary but rather crossed anchor symbols at regular intervals within the channel. In view of the potential dangers of navigators misinterpreting chart information it is difficult to comprehend why the display specifications for ECDIS doesn’t require the retention of established chart symbology!

Satellite Failure

ECDIS is a satellite only position fixing system so currently relies totally on the GPS signal being received. A total or partial loss of GPS signal will result in an ECDIS becoming inaccurate and therefore a navigator must know how to plot visual bearings or radar range and bearing information onto the ECDIS to obtain a position. Again, this vital function has been left to the manufacturers to incorporate and on many ECDIS the process is so complicated as to be not fit for purpose, despite the requirement for such a feature to be integrated. I have noted that the vast majority of watchkeepers not only haven’t a clue as to how to undertake such manual plotting but many were totally unaware that such plotting was actually possible. That training issue again! However, on ECDIS only tankers I have been informed that many vetting inspectors now include manual plotting on ECDIS as part of their checks and consequently I understand that the latest generation of ECDIS are now required to have a simple plotting facility instantly available from the main menu display. Just don’t ask about celestial navigation plotting on an ECDIS!

The biggest problem with GPS position errors however is not the manual plotting but the psychological aspect of a navigator seeing the ship on the chart and not believing that it is possible that the displayed position could be in error. In the same way that SATNAV causes lorry drivers to drive into farms or into rivers, there have been many cases of navigators refusing to accept that the GPS could be in error despite visual and radar references indicating that something is incorrect and simulator trials have confirmed that this is a serious problem. With the GLONASS satellite system being upgraded and the EU’s Galileo system due to come on stream in a few years, there are already multi system satellite receivers being produced which will take positions from a greater number of satellites and thus effectively eliminate such position errors and with most ships now having at least two satellite receivers, aerial problems, such as caused the grounding of the cruise ship Royal Majestyin 1995, should no longer be an issue. Despite this potential to eliminate satellite positioning errors, a growing area of concern is jamming of satellite signals. Although I’m unaware of any serious deliberate jamming attacks on GPS, there have been several reported cases of inadvertent disruptions from a variety of sources that have caused havoc to on-board systems, usually in congested port areas. However, with GPS jammers readily available on line from as little as £25 deliberate jamming is potentially a serious threat especially if road usage tax policies become a reality. In order to assess the impact of jamming on commercial shipping, Trinity House have undertaken GPS jamming trials and I will include a report on these in the next issue?

One solution to prevent outages caused by jamming could have been e-Loran which Trinity House have been developing with the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLA’s)  with considerable success but last year the USA announced the dismantling of the Loran Stations in the US so the future of this project is currently in doubt. Another possible solution came to me whilst piloting a ship with an electronic chart overlay on the radar. With common photo applications now capable of face and feature recognition it occurred to me that it should be fairly straightforward for and “intelligent” ECDIS to examine a radar image of the land and, if there was any discrepancy with the satellite positioning to align itself with the radar coastline. I have made a few enquiries regarding this concept and I understand that some companies are working on this so remember, you read it here first!


As an overall concept, ECDIS has the potential to enhance navigational safety by incorporating charting into the integrated bridge console displaying information specifically tailored to that particular vessel’s safety parameters and it was this safety potential that persuaded IMO to introduce the compulsory carriage timetable. For the ship owners the advantage is that it removes the need to place vast folios of charts on board a ship which all require to be kept corrected but a fair percentage of which might never be used. Licences can just be purchased for charts relevant to a particular passage and if the trading area changes then it’s a simple matter to purchase the licences to access the charts for the new trade. For the ship, the tedious process of checking / updating folios and chart correcting is removed. The problem is that, in order to please the manufacturers and to encourage them to develop the systems, the needs of the end user have been sidelined and consequently there are a bewildering number of different ECDIS with a myriad of different operating systems incorporating incompatible menu systems. The situation was bad enough with radar but chartwork is so fundamental to the safety of a vessel that a comprehensive knowledge of not just the concept of the vector chart that underpins ECDIS but also the type specific functionality is essential. This need is only now being addressed seriously, but with so many different systems and so many navigators to be trained it is almost inevitable that there will be more groundings such as that of the CFL Performer!

In my mini survey I have discovered that all navigators prefer the paper chart to ECDIS and given the choice would prefer the raster chart with its familiar display to the vector chart. Even on the best run vessels with highly trained officers I have yet to find any officer who is enthusiastic about ECDIS or who believes that the ECDIS is the ultimate solution to navigation practice. In contrast the momentum has been driven by those ashore who are convinced that ECDIS is the ultimate solution to navigation safety. Such a chasm between the proponents and end user is regrettably a hallmark of the commercial maritime world.


UPDATE 4/2012

As ECDIS usage increases some serious problems are being identified

ECDIS is a computer designed to display the Electronic Navigation Chart (ENC) but whilst the ENC is strictly controlled, the user interface features that the navigator uses to navigate has been left entirely to the manufacturers! Consequently there isn’t any standard format for essential navigation functions.

Training problems have been well documented but other factors are now emerging that are just as serious and which tend to highlight the folly of permitting unregulated user formats.

Following the identification of  serious display errors on some ECDIS, last year  the International Hydrographic Office (IHO) sent a CD to all vessels to check that their ECDIS was correctly displaying the ENC data. Of the thousands sent out only 500 responses have been received and of these 2/3 revealed minor problems but 1/3 revealed serious problems. With these 500 probably being returned by the top end of the ECDIS fitted shipping it is probable that display errors are even more common than the limited returns reveal.

How can this happen? Basically, shipping companies have considered that purchasing an ECDIS is the same as a radar. You purchase the set, put it on board and call in a technician to fix it when it goes wrong and so they don’t take out an expensive software maintenance contract with the supplier.

Confusion abounds because the actual ENC’s  do require an update and correction contract so many believe that this also covers the display software. Not so! The ECDIS is a computer running software and like all software, bugs are identified and fixes are made by means of software updates. Therefore If the company hasn’t got a contract their display software may rapidly become obsolete. However, although a service contract isn’t currently a carriage requirement the IMO, realising that older ECDIS may not be able to display  new features, issued SN.1/Circ.266, which states “ECDIS that is not updated for the latest version of IHO Standards may not meet the chart carriage requirements …” Despite this the IHO tests have revealed that there are potentially thousands of vessels still sailing with faulty ECDIS. Some manufacturers such as JRC have openly admitted to bugs in their display software and have requested that users of their equipment contact them for relevant update. Other companies have been more secretive and the IHO test has revealed the alarming fact that  there are no records of which ships are fitted with ECDIS.

With even the manufacturers having no records of where much of their equipment is fitted there is growing concern that ECDIS implementation is a fundamentally flawed process!  JCB

April 2014: A paper highlighting some of the ECDIS vulnerabilities has been published by the NCC Group. You can read it here:

2 Responses to “ECDIS Part 3 : Problems!!”

November 6th, 2010 at 12:57

Thank you very much for an excellent article.

It all points to a rather rocky introduction of ECDIS in the following years – probably will keep the accident investigators busy.

November 22nd, 2010 at 17:22

Thank you for your article – an interesting read. I agree that the insufficiently-controlled introduction of ECDIS over the past decade or so has resulted in a huge variation in training and implementation standards. Hopefully some of the recent work by the IMO will go some way toward rectifying this – and perhaps S-100 and similar improvements/revisions to the standards over coming years will also have a positive impact.

Noting your relative proximity to our offices, I’d like to invite you (the author!) to a free open day/press conference we are holding in December. Please email me directly if this is of interest to you.

To other readers, may I offer the services of our organisation, ECDIS Ltd (, to anyone with training or consultancy needs concerning regulations or the systems of any manufacturer. We are always glad to help.


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