ECDIS Type specific training and IMO generic course training should not stop at sea

SAFETY4SEA: What will be the biggest challenge in terms of Loss Prevention up to 2020?

Carl Durow: The eventual roll out of ECDIS across the majority of the global fleet. Owners have considerable obligations along the lines of type specific training. The current state of play sees numerous manufacturers with competing systems, with no obligations to build commonality into the user interfaces. As a result the greater the number of unit types an owner finds themselves operating, the greater their obligations to provided type specific training.

This is important because simple tasks performed with a set of dividers and a parallel ruler, now require the user to have specific knowledge of how to achieve the same on screen, with the specific unit in question. Unfortunately it is not always as simple as it may be assumed to be. Furthermore the manner in which ECDIS is used on-board will need to be managed. The information layering nature of ECIDS is going to require the Safety Management System to be considered very carefully, this task must be performed by competent persons.

Type specific training (and indeed IMO generic course training) should not stop at sea. Many seafarers who left the industry before 2010 may not have held a CoC with the requisite training; moreover they may have no practical experience of ECDIS. Many are now ashore in a management positon with responsibility for ECDIS integration into a fleet. To achieve this efficiently they must in our view bridge the gap before taking on such a task.

The Club has already taken steps to integrate this aspect into the Ship Inspection Programme. We hope therefore to be in a positon to highlight any shortcomings that the attending inspector observes. Management of change in this respect will be vitally important; and those operators with a well-established management of change policy will be at an advantage when integrating this equipment.

S4S: With respect to your own Loss prevention initiatives which one tends to me more effective?

C.D.: The Club’s most effective approach to this subject is not an initiative at all, it is part of the fabric of the Club now in its 152nd year. From the Club’s perspective our own long standing ethos of being close to our members is an mutual benefit that comes from being nimble as an organisation. We aim to ensure that new members are visited by Club staff very soon after joining us.

That way we share information at a very yearly stage and forge those vitally important personal contacts and relationships that larger organisations can find difficult to achieve. The opportunity to introduce the Club’s ship inspection programme and Loss Prevention materials in person, are considered to be a key task for all Club staff and the Loss prevention Department when travelling.

S4S: How does your Club promote loss prevention across the industry?

C.D.: The Club has forged strong industry relationships with various international marine consultancies. This has led to a series of short PDF documents which are available for our members (and non-members) to download from our website, entitled LP Focus. The have considered subjects such as crane maintenance, container losses and the permit to work system.

S4S: What are your suggestions to industry stakeholders to enhance effectiveness of loss prevention best practices?

C.D.: Our main suggestion is to ensure/enhance the empowerment of floating staff. The provision of shore based training courses such as ISM Auditor Training for senior officers at sea is a step towards empowering senior staff in their role. Ultimately the senior management staff at sea, which can largely be considered as the ‘top four’ of Master, Mate, Chief Engineer and Second Engineer; make the decisions that do or do not result in large third party liability exposures. They not only work within, but are a key factor in the administration, development and continued evaluation of a ship’s core management systems.

If they are well trained in the roles that the company shore staff have to perform in the circular management system, they have the opportunity to look critically at their own systems at sea from an educated stand point seven days a week. To feel part of a system, the ship’s staff need to feel like they are stakeholders.


The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.



Carl Durow is a Master Mariner with working experience of LPG, LNG, Crude Oil, Deep Water Anchor Handling operations and Offshore Marine Support. A qualified Senior Dynamic Positioning Operator finishing his sea going career on Seismic Survey vessels, Carl holds a BSc (Hons) Degree in Maritime Studies. He currently holds the position of Loss Prevention Manager at the London P&I Club.