Training programmes on the use of ECDIS provided to masters and deck officers1 serving on ships fitted with ECDIS shall meet the mandatory training requirements of the STCW Convention:
- under the provisions of the STCW Convention and Code, all officers in charge of a navigational watch on ships of 500 gross tonnage or more must have a thorough knowledge and ability to use nautical charts and nautical publications (refer STCW Code Table A-II/1);
- masters and officers in charge of a navigational watch (both at management and operational level) serving on ships fitted with ECDIS should as a minimum, undertake appropriate generic ECDIS training, meeting the competence requirements of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and Code;
- the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and Code have reinforced ECDIS training requirements and introduced several additional specific competencies in the use of ECDIS for officers both at management and operational level serving on ECDIS-fitted ships(refer to STCW Code Tables A-II/1 and A-II/2). Training in accordance with the 2010 Manila Amendments became effective from 1 July 2013;
- masters and officers certificated under chapter II of the STCW Convention serving on board ships fitted with ECDIS are to be familiarized (in accordance with STCW regulation I/14) with the ship’s equipment including ECDIS;
- STCW Convention regulation I/14, paragraph 1.5, as well as sections 6.3 and 6.5 of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, require companies to ensure seafarers are provided with familiarization training. A ship safety management system should include familiarization with the ECDIS equipment fitted, including its backup arrangements, sensors and related peripherals. ECDIS manufacturers are encouraged to provide training resources including type-specific materials. These resources may form part of the ECDIS familiarization training;
- STCW Convention regulation I/14, paragraph 1.4, requires companies to maintain evidence of the training and ensures that it is readily accessible. For certificates of competency that have expiry dates beyond 1 January 2017, port State control authorities should accept the certificate issued as prima facie evidence that the seafarer has met the standard of competence required by the 2010 Amendments in accordance with the control provisions of article X and regulation I/4 of the STCW Convention;
- companies should also maintain evidence of the familiarization training in compliance with STCW Convention regulation I/14, paragraph 1.5;
- Administrations should inform their port State control officers of the requirements for ECDIS training as detailed in paragraph 7 above;
TRANSITIONING FROM PAPER CHART TO ECDIS NAVIGATION
Shipowners and operators should undertake an assessment of the issues involved in changing from paper chart to ECDIS navigation. Ships’ masters and deck officers should participate in any such assessment. Documenting the assessment of issues, combined with development of ECDIS standard operating procedures, will help lead to the adoption of robust ECDIS navigation practices, simplification of masters and deck officers’ training and facilitate smooth handovers.
Ship masters and deck officers should be provided with ECDIS training and familiarization programme for the ship masters and deck officers fully to understand the use of ECDIS for passage planning and navigation. IHO has published an online publication “Facts about electronic charts and carriage requirements“. It is a source of information on ECDIS hardware, training and technical aspects of electronic chart data. Copies are available free of charge from various sources including: www.iho.int.
GUIDANCE ON TRAINING AND ASSESSMENT IN THE OPERATIONAL USE OF ECDIS SIMULATORS
Training and assessment in the operational use of the ECDIS should:
- incorporate the use of ECDIS simulation equipment; and
- conform to standards not inferior to those given in paragraphs 35 to 37 below
ECDIS simulation equipment should be capable of simulating navigational equipment and bridge operational controls, incorporate facilities to generate soundings and
1. create a real-time operating environment, including navigation control and communications instruments and equipment appropriate to the navigation and watchkeeping tasks to be carried out and the manoeuvring skills to be assessed; and
2. realistically simulate “own ship” characteristics in open‑water conditions, as well as the effects of weather, tidal stream and currents.
Demonstrations of and practice in use of ECDIS should, if possible, be undertaken through the use of simulators. Training exercises should preferably be undertaken in real time, in order to increase trainees’ awareness of hazards of improper use of ECDIS. (Extract from IMO MSC.1/Circ.1503)