By Martyn Wingrove
Singapore-based shipmanagement group Thome overcame the challenge of having to update all shipboard ECDIS across the fleet to the latest International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) standards.
Thome president and chief commercial officer Claes Eek Thorstensen told Marine Electronics & Communications that the variety of systems on board, the “intense trading patterns” and schedules of the ships meant that it was not possible to update all onboard systems to IHO standard version 4.0 in time.
IMO required all onboard ECDIS to be operating with software that complied with this IHO standard by September 2017, unless given dispensation. Which is what Thome had to do.
“ECDIS could not be updated on every single vessel straightaway so we sought dispensation from the relevant classification societies for the few vessels that were not updated initially, to avoid any issues with port state control,” Mr Thorstensen explained.
Thome’s fleet has ECDIS supplied by Furuno Electric, Headway, Japan Radio Co and Kongsberg. Verification was needed to show that each navigation device was operating on the latest compliant software, or was being updated.
“The upgrading process involved physical attendance from the service technician,” said Mr Thorstensen. “After the system has been updated, the master of the vessel was required to send a screen shot of the ECDIS screen to confirm the software update.”
For the vessels where an upgrade was not completed in time, dispensation was taken and hard copies of Admiralty navigation charts were supplied “after carrying out a thorough risk assessment” he added. Thome had upgraded all ECDIS across its fleet by the end of 2017.
Training is as important an aspect of ECDIS operations as having the latest software installed. Thome did not have a centralised training centre, but it did have online and computer-based training (CBT) tools. It also used accredited training centres around the world that have knowledge of different ECDIS systems to ensure its bridge teams were taught how to operate these devices.
Mr Thorstensen said the group uses Safebridge online tools to conduct ECDIS training as Safebridge has programs covering the major brands and models and can be accessed wherever there is internet connection.
He explained that Furuno’s and Kongsberg’s own CBT programs were used and some classroom training was provided in Singapore by Star Centurion.
Thome’s recently opened operations hub is also used for ECDIS training, and can be used for extending elements of e-navigation to the fleet.
“Our operations hub is a state-of-the-art system that enables situational awareness for both duty personnel and Thome’s crisis teams,” Mr Thorstensen explained.
“It provides high-tech systems allowing remote tracking of individual ships in the fleet, passage planning, security risk assessment and weather routeing, all essential to help with navigation.”
This article was published in Asia / Middle East Maritime Focus and Marine Electronics and Communications. You may see the link here