The new STCW requirements, which came into force since 1st January 2017, consist the frame for the e-Navigation training standards which are supported and assisted by the industry practice and experience for further awareness.
From 1 January 2017 onwards, all masters and officers serving on ships fitted with ECDIS certificated under chapter II of the STCW Convention, should have undertaken appropriate Generic ECDIS training (which may be based upon IMO model course 1.27), meeting the competence requirements of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and ISM Code.
Additionally, regulation I/14, paragraph 1.5 of the STCW Convention, as well as sections 6.3 and 6.5 of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, requires companies to ensure seafarers are provided with familiarization or type specific training.
A ship safety management system should include familiarization with the ECDIS equipment fitted, including its backup arrangements, sensors and related peripherals.
What is the Generic Training
This training is a pre-requirement for executing the duties of Officer of the watch. The IMO Model course 1.27 is to ensure that navigators understand ECDIS in the context of navigation and can demonstrate all competencies contained in and implied by STCW.
The course is provided to ensure that the navigators learn to use ECDIS and can apply it in all aspects of navigation, including the knowledge, understanding and proficiency to transfer that skill to the particular ECDIS system(s) actually encountered on board, prior to taking over navigational duties. It is a five-day course which include simulator based training and evaluation also.
What is familiarization or type specific training?
Familiarization is the process required to become familiar with any onboard ECDIS (including backup) in order to assure and demonstrate competency onboard with any specific ship’s ECDIS installation, prior to taking charge of a navigational watch. This may be achieved through a training session from competent trainer (usually provided by ECDIS equipment manufacturer) and Company established familiarization procedure.
Some industry stakeholders (eg. some Major Oil Companies) require the officers assigned with bridge watch duties to be certified for ECDIS type specific course. There is no ‘official’ format of this training so far. As familiarization guidance Nautical Institute published the Industry Recommendations for ECDIS Training (2012) with extended checklists in order to check OOW familiarization with onboard installed system. This practice is commonly followed and has become an “industry standard”
All the above aim to verify that those going to use the ECDIS equipment are well prepared. As most ECDIS related incidents are caused by inadequate use of equipment and/or wrong setting parameters, the value of training and familiarization is of primary importance.