It’s a fact, that ECDIS is becoming necessary and more vessels are relying wholly on it, bringing up concerns regarding OOW’s actions in the case of a failure on ECDIS system. The kind and number of failures vary from a single unit failure that may require the system’s reboot to a double failure on both primary and secondary ECDIS. Equipment may fail during vessel’s voyage in the open ocean and also while vessel is navigating in narrow channels under pilotage.

The number of ECDIS failures has been increased with the use of USB flash drives and cables, connected to the system. Three failures in 2010, were caused from viruses on USB flash drives, resulting in disfunctions of the system, such as error messages and false alarms and very slow speed. In 2016, a seafarer plugged his smart phone into the ECDIS to charge it and as the phone began to update itself it wiped the entire chart folio.

Actions to be taken in the case of an ECDIS Failure:

  • In the case of a single unit failure, use the second system, inform the Master and Navigator and instigate defect rectification
  • In the event of a power failure with both systems reverting to UPS supply, consider a controlled shut down of one system and inform the Master and the Navigator
  • In a timely manner to coincide with the expiry of the UPS on the first system, restart the second
  • On restoration following a power failure or uncontrolled shut down of the system, confirm that there are power supplies to each system
  • ECDIS check-off cards should be checked to ensure that settings of anti-grounding cone, safety depth, safety contour, velocity vector, units, chart priorities and chart auto-load are correct
  • Check that both Primary and Secondary position sources are selected and that they are working correctly
  • Confirm that the heading source is selected and is working correctly
  • Confirm that RIO is operating correctly
  • Check vessel’s current position
  • Verify that own vessel shape is correct and that the ship is aligned to vessel’s head
  • Conduct Alarm self-test

SQE Marine has prepared a checklist aiming to provide the necessary steps required, in case of ECDIS failure.