On December 19th 2016 representatives from ECDIS Ltd, including George Ward a former apprentice at the company (and now permanent ECDIS Ltd employee) were invited by MP Caroline Dinenage to join her at the Houses of Parliament in London to thank them and other local companies for contributions to her “Get In Go Far” campaign.
[Whiteley, Hampshire January 2017] Since 2010 there have been over 11,000 apprenticeships in her constituency of Gosport, Hampshire. The national average is only 4,900, meaning that Gosport has the third highest number of apprenticeship starts in the country. But Caroline launched her Get In Go Far campaign in the summer because she felt more could be done to raise the profile of apprenticeships in our local area and highlight the wealth of opportunities on offer
“I am always excited to welcome people from the Gosport constituency up to Parliament and this evening is no exception. It is a delight to host these fantastic apprentices and their employers and congratulate them for the work they do.”
ECDIS Ltd has had great success with the apprenticeship scheme since the company’s formation. Looking to encourage young talent and freely share practical life-skills to young people in the area, Training & Production Manager Robyn Harrigan says:
“Apprentices have always been a core part of our business as they bring enthusiasm, energy and a fresh perspective to the company, which cannot be found anywhere else. We have always appreciated apprentices who are willing to learn and not afraid to have a go at the challenge that ECDIS Ltd has thrown at them. George [Ward] is a perfect example of someone who joined the team in one capacity and showed us quickly that he was capable and was eager to experience more the company had to offer, within months George had moved into a much wider and more challenging area of the company. In cases like this, it was a simple decision to offer George a permanent role”
Caroline sums up her view on apprentices:
“Apprenticeships offer such amazing opportunities to learn the specialist skills needed to forge a rewarding career in a specific sector.”
To learn more about the campaign, visit Caroline’s website, here: http://caroline4gosport.co.uk/get-in-go-far/all
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Another fleet has signed up to ECDIS Type Specific ACATS, joining a long list of global shipping companies already registered with the Annual Competency Assurance Training service.
[Whiteley, Hampshire November 2016] Consolidated Marine Management based in Greece have signed up all crew on their 23 hulls for both the Furuno FMD and JRC ACAT courses, this follows another recent enrolment by Condor Ferries who have also signed up their entire fleet to the Transas ACAT course
The ECDIS Type Specific ACAT courses have proven a success within the industry. The pricing model of £200 per hull, per year with unlimited crew is appealing to shipping companies with a high crew turnover or those who’s crew changes hulls frequently.
The general consensus is that shipping managers now have the need to be aware of the competencies of their officers, in particular when using the navigation systems, instead of solely relying on them just holding a certificate.
When asked what her initial thoughts were on the ECDIS Type Specific ACAT Courses; Sanita Zurzdina, Head of Personnel at LSC Shipmanagement said:
“The ECDIS ACAT courses have been very beneficial to our company, we have already found that our crew members are being reminded of functions on their ECDIS systems that they needed refreshing on. As the Head of Personnel at LSC Shipmanagement, from my perspective the courses have given us great insight into our crews competence and have given us peace of mind that they fully understand how to use such an important piece of equipment”
Coming soon will be a range of additional ACAT refresher courses including: HELM, BTM and the STCW 6.09 and 6.10, all of which will prove to be as an invaluable a tool as their ECDIS Type Specific counterparts.
For more information visit www.emaritimetraining.com
ECDIS Ltd’s international seminars on have proven such a success, they have now moved into a new series; starting with the one of the previous hosts, Dubai.
[Whiteley, Hampshire 14 November 2016] The seminar, held on 3rd November at the InterContinental Hotel Dubai, gave the attendees a great opportunity to interact directly with the speakers in a round table discussion style forum, gaining invaluable insight and knowledge to enhance company procedures.
The seminar titled “ECDIS Inspections: Marine Risk Reduction, Detentions & Best Practice” provides the delegates with practical, insightful knowledge of the best ways to prevent lengthy, costly port detentions; something which all global shipping companies want to avoid.
Feedback from the attendees was outstanding:
“An excellent seminar addressing various issues related to ECDIS usage and implementation. As informed by previous participants, [the] interaction with the instructor and sharing of knowledge was excellent. [They] addressed issues which were not covered in usual ECDIS training.”
The crew members who attended enjoyed a relaxed atmosphere which enabled a round table discussion, gleaming invaluable information and advice from Mark and Robyn. Dubai, yet again made the team feel very welcome, and provided the perfect learning environment.
The next stop for the team is Manila, Philippines on Thursday 17th November. For more information on the seminars, and for those interested in attending any future seminars visit www.ecdis.org/seminars or email [email protected].
Inspectors get tough on ECDIS
The Inspectors training in ECDIS has without doubt increased safety at sea as it highlights that not all is well……regardless of certificates held!
Few are aware that the World is half way through an international project to train around 1000 Inspectors and PSC Officers in ECDIS. Without doubt, it has already dramatically increased the safety of navigation at sea by providing Inspecting Officers with all the relevant questions that need to be asked for all the 38 manufacturers, regardless of what certificates the Officers hold.
The feedback so far is proving that in some cases Officers cannot practically show inspectors the basic navigation and safety features designed to reduce the risk of groundings. The Inspector training that they are receiving has to be good for the industry, albeit not for some shipping companies that felt comfortable in the past of their Officers competencies, purely because they held ‘certificates’.
Indeed recently Captain Robert Pearcey, Marine Consultancy DP Annual Audits CMID, OVID Inspections Surveys & Accident Incident Investigation, shares one of his ECDIS audit inspections;
As an OVID and CMID inspector I can confirm that many operators can show no knowledge of basic safety features in ECDIS systems, or how to recover past data from ECDIS sometimes this is useful.
“I have also noted that ECDIS is not used on Jack up rigs under tow, expensive paper route charts are produced with people who have little knowledge of Marine matters, other than follow the tug. On one occasion when acting for BP as Marine observer I stopped a tug going into shallow water with undersell clearance of 1m. It would seem that ECDIS should be compulsory on tugs towing deep drafted MODUs and Barges.
The really concerning issue I found on a US operated rig a US office with a Belize Certificate , was issues a Marshall Island Certificate on producing a certificate in which there are no exams, people are finding ways round certification and this is concerning as Masters and Operators seem to be turning a blind eye. In this case the officer was navigating in the Malacca St. on a 6th generation drill ship, it was apparent he did not have much of a clue about ECDIS.
It is only a matter of time before we have a bad incident”.
One of the catalysts for the requirement for an Inspectors course in ECDIS was from a recommendation after the high profile MV OVIT grounding in the English Channel, where the investigation noted in Section 2.8.1 of the MAIB report:
Although the SIRE inspection occurred only 10 days before the grounding, the two navigation-related observations reported indicate that the inspection went into some detail. Nevertheless, the inspection did not identify the crew’s lack of competence in using ECDIS, or the significant defect with its audible alarm. It is recognised that audits and inspections are a sampling process; it would be impossible to check every facet of a ship’s navigation within a reasonable timescale. However, as ECDIS is replacing paper charts as the primary means of navigation on many vessels, it is imperative that auditors and inspectors are able to identify problems in the way ECDIS are managed, maintained and used. The degree of understanding required of an auditor to check that ENC data in an ECDIS is up to date is clearly more complex than that required to check a written passage plan, and the correction status of paper charts and nautical publications. 48 Many auditors and inspectors do not have a background in navigation, and those that do might not have been trained in ECDIS. Consequently, few will have even a basic understanding of the system, leaving them ill-equipped to assess a core safety-critical function, that of safe navigation. Therefore, there is a strong case for the development and provision of tools that will enable auditors and inspectors to properly check the use and performance of this equipment
The following was part of the recommendations in the document after the MAIB investigation:
SECTION 5 – Recommendation
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) are recommended to:
142/2014 In conjunction with ECDIS experts develop and promulgate a set of focused questions for use by surveyors and auditors when conducting audits and inspections on ECDIS fitted ships.
(Above MAIB material provided from Report NO 24/2014 MAIB. Crown Copyright)
I was pleased to be part of the team engaged as the ECDIS experts to write and deliver courses all over the World over the last few years, and write the top 20 Navigation and Safety questions, used globally and now 50 reasonable ECDIS questions that all Officers should be expected to answer.
Over the years my colleagues and I have only trained several thousand seafarers in the 8 hour Type Specific (TS) courses, which is a fraction of a percent of the Global Seafarers currently conducting TS training. The recent White Paper on ECDIS TS (available for download on the eMG Hub app on Android or Apple), highlights the international confusion in both requirements and standards. What is also becoming clear, is regardless of how well trained you are, we are all subject to skill fade if not using the equipment for some time, and, the 38 manufacturers are always (quite rightly) updating their software to the changing performance standards.
Paul Hebden Master Mariner,
“My main reasons for retiring, was the enforced implementation of ECDIS on our ships as our Primary Means of Navigation (PMN), with minimal paper charts as back up….. It’s not a case of IF we will have a serious navigational incident, but WHEN…… and after 25 incident free years as Master….. It was time to go”.
There are many recent initiatives to try and bridge this gap, but a brand new service which is gripping interest in the Maritime Industry is ECDIS ACAT www.eMaritimeTraining.com which currently charges £200 per year, per hull, regardless of Officer numbers or changes, to keep all crew up-to-date on the top navigation elements of the 38 ECDIS manufacturers.”
Matt Riley, Compliance Officer, CSO and DPA,
“I can attest from my own experience of both working at sea and completing ECDIS training that services and products, such as this new service (ECDIS ACAT) are indeed in demand!”
George Ward, Project Support for ECDIS ACAT, states that:
“ECDIS ACAT is an effective assurance method of assisting the Maritime Industry as a whole to increase their underpinning knowledge in the Make and Model of their ECDIS fitted onboard and to keep up-to-date with the constantly evolving software from all the manufacturers worldwide. This product also allows the Ship Manager or Operator to have positive control over their Officers Annual Competency Assurance with regards to ECDIS, which in turn would reduce their training safety matrix for navigating with ECDIS.”
The feedback I have received is that there are thousands of seafarers with all of the required certificates, however disappointingly many have not been able to answer the basic navigation and safety questions now asked by Inspectors World-Wide. I must clarify at this point, these are basic navigation questions that Officers would have been able to answer on paper charts, such as “Show me on the chart the relevant chart notes, What is the reliability of the chart? How do you show Safe/Unsafe Water? and Can you show me how you can put a Manual Correction on the chart?”. None of the questions or recent observations raised by inspectors has been based on how to calculate a Horizontal sextant angle on the ECDIS!
Two years in and the feedback from he industry shows that prior to training, some inspectors found it very difficult to ensure the Bridge team actually understood the practical use of their ECDIS. After training, inspectors are generating multiple observations where ships Officers don’t understand the fundamental principles to keep their ship safe when using ECDIS.
The aim of training Inspectors in ECDIS around the world was to increase standards and reduce the risk of groundings. It is not to give to give Officers at sea a `hard time`, I know from experience the challenges of being an Officer at sea are hard enough without additional pressures. In summary, as an industry, all is not well, however all is not lost.