02.05.2014, 09:26:58 (GMT+1)

Bridge integration needs intelligent officers

Today’s rush for sustainable shipping

Every shipowner who receive a newbuilding from shipyard these days are proud and full of confidence that this new, modern vessel will create fruitful business for 25 years or even longer, for him or future owner. And we who sits beside and watch are convinced that this new ship on the seven seas is one of the best and filled with the latest technology and a motivated and well educated crew. Today every shipyard and owner with respect claims that this new ship has taken the industry to a higher level when it comes to sustainability and environmental impact.                 

Integrated bridge systems

I will leave all matters regarding sustainability, environment and business aspects aside for future blogs and today focus on the integrated bridge. We as a training institute notice today that despite owner and managers eager to keep this motivated and well educated crew in charge for the new ship with latest technology the willingness for investing in knowledge and educating is limited to what rules and regulations state. It is rather rare that even a responsible ship manager succeed in convincing owner to pay for education that goes beyond what is a must. This is understandable to a certain extent because the so called “market” does not pay for anything extra. It is in the cruising industry the owners are aware of that costs for training are lower than costs for accidents and therefor they are investing in education and knowledge. But are owners and industry really taking the full grip and understanding of education.

Integration needs intelligence

When talking about knowledge and education we think of courses leading to a certificate that is asked for by flag state and regulations. That is fine and sufficient to a certain extent. After my latest blog regarding ECDIS I received an email from Nick, highlighting the lack of knowledge of the integrated system on the bridge among officers on watch. We seems to be satisfied that the officer knows about GPS, AIS, radar, ECDIS, safety, computers and other systems onboard but there is no knowledge about what impact one system has on another system. What happens if this system stops sending signals? What do officer on watch need to know about the integrated system? What can be done to limit a breakdown of one system? It is easy to raise questions but not as easy to come with answers and solutions.
This very actual issue has also been raised by Richard Clayton in April issue of HIS Maritime Fairplay. In his article he also brings out the importance of standardisation but claim that manufacturers are not listening. It is often popular to compare with airline industry. So is also done in this article. Quote: “The equipment used onboard an aircraft is adjusted to the plane; in maritime, the ship will be adjusted as much as possible to accommodate the equipment.”
This will of course not be fruitful for maritime industry if such status will continue.

Intelligent action

The time has come for us as education institutes to deliver courses that take care of the integrated system and lift the officers to the operational level they actually are asked to be on. We as institute need to put together the educations to system knowledge that cover the full operation and take the full advantages of the integrated bridge. This will lead to that the officers can continue to deliver the cargo safely in time with the modern and sustainable ship. But in order to be able to give such courses managers and owners need to be able to pay for it. That cannot be done by a single owner but needs to be addressed by organizations such as IMO, ITF and other global players. And we as customers of goods at consumer level has to be prepared to pay just a little extra for goods delivered over the seven seas.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius--and a lot of courage--to move in the opposite direction.                                                                               E.F.Schumacher, 1911-1977.

Take care out there.

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