The EU part-funded STM (Sea Traffic Management) Validation project has released a new service reducing workload for the crew on board and decreasing the risks of accidents and misunderstanding.

Navigational Warning displayed on board in ship’s ECDIS (Image: Transas)

Navigational Warning displayed on board in ship’s ECDIS (Image: Transas)

With the new Baltic Navigational Warning Service navigational warnings and can be sent directly to the ECDIS on board with digital communication machine to machine. The Validation Project’s advocates say the new service allows warnings to be sent only to those affected and to be deleted when no longer relevant creating a greater accuracy, relevance and less administrative burden leading to increased safety at sea.

The purpose with the Baltic Navigational Warning service is to provide the ship, with only those warnings that are relevant for the route they are taking and for the time they are taking it. The warnings will be displayed directly in the ECDIS on board and automatically deleted when they are no longer valid.

Navigational Warnings relevant for the chosen route and time will be sent directly to the ECDIS on board the ship. Navigational warnings in areas not affected by the route will not be received.

The new service reduce workload on board as there is no need to manually plot positions or areas received by Navtex or voice communication. It is also claimed to potentially reduce human errors as warnings are provided digitally and seamlessly shown directly in ECDIS, possible human errors, misunderstandings and manual plotting errors can be avoided.

Björn Andreasson is the Testbed Manager for the STM Validation project: “The new service is being verified by ships in the STM Validation project and also in the European Maritime Simulator Network. The mariners participating in the simulations were very positive. Not having to receive navigational warnings by Navtex only and manually transfer them was a great relief for the participants. An Officer on Watch said in the debriefing afterwards that he now could fully focus on safe navigation knowing that the navigational warnings of relevance would show up directly in the ECDIS on board”.

According to London P&I Club, insurance inspections regularly find deficiencies in managing navigation warnings and notices to mariners as officers fail to implement navigational safety notices. By providing the notices directly to ships ECDIS manual work and risk of missing important information is reduced.

By Jake Frith