ECDIS, Electronic Chart and Display System, is the name given to the hardware driving shipping’s switch to electronic navigation. Essentially a simplified computer designed for use on a vessel’s bridge, the most basic function of an ECDIS is to display navigational charts on a screen showing the vessel’s position.
It’s the additional functions which really set ECDIS apart from paper charts though – a powerful system of tools, notifications and alerts which provide the navigator with essential, real time information and warnings of potential hazards far ahead of time.
ECDIS alerts the navigator if any sections of the route are considered unsafe based on the vessel’s requirements, this could be as simple as avoiding water shallower than the vessel’s draft or as complex as avoiding heavy seas for a vessel minimising the risk of liquefaction to a nickel ore cargo.
Chart overlays show information of interest on top of the chart itself, including weather and tide forecasts and piracy hotspots. This weather and tidal data feeds into the ECDIS’ automatic, optimised route planning, leading to fuel savings and reduced transit times. More advanced systems also support ice charts for arctic navigation and radar overlay, eliminating the need for two screens and making it easier to cross-reference the information from each piece of equipment.
As well as route planning and ongoing navigation, ECDIS has the potential to make huge efficiency gains within ship management, collecting data throughout the voyage and automatically sending it ashore, allowing for more accurate scheduling and easier maintenance and delivery logistics.
Most importantly though, ECDIS requires a fraction of the work of traditional charts to update, taking a huge burden off the navigator and allowing him or her to concentrate on safe route planning. Even the most basic systems can be updated regularly using a few CDs, while better devices automatically download and install updates and notices to mariners at port or even mid-voyage, meaning an immediate, significant saving on paper charts.
Research from DNV shows that the use of ECDIS may reduce grounding frequency by at least 30%. The third most frequent accident involving ships larger than 100GT, grounding is also the fourth highest contributor to marine fatalities at 12%.
Legally, the argument for ECDIS has been won. Electronic navigation is already required by law on new passenger vessels over 500 GT, new tankers over 3,000 GT and new cargo vessels larger than 10,000 GT. From June 2014 this will be extended to include new cargo ships above 3,000 GT and existing passenger ships built after July 2012 and larger than 500 GT. Two final waves will complete the legislation – existing tankers constructed after 2012 must navigate electronically no later than their first survey on or after July 1 2015, while existing cargo carriers bigger than 50,000 GT and constructed after July 1 2013 must meet the legislation no later than their first survey on or after 1 July 2016.
Despite the enthusiasm of the regulators though, ECDIS was not universally welcomed and lost trust among many users after early issues with the technology, including the lack of a legal requirement for different systems to use the same symbols to denote certain hazards. Meanwhile, opponents say it reduces important navigation skills and leads to decreased vigilance. Stories abound of navigators watching their screen intently as unmarked hazards sail past the bridge windows. After several years of hard work though, most of these issues have been cleared up and ECDIS equipment has emerged as reliable and meticulously thought-through, and opinion is starting to turn in its favour.
The biggest opposition to ECDIS though has always been over the timing of its implementation. Introduced after five years of rock-bottom freight rates and amid a raft of other expensive legislation, including emissions reduction and ballast water management, critics say that ECDIS is important but not urgent enough to justify such short, strict deadlines while owners and operators are struggling with tight margins and a crippling lack of accessible finance.
While legally required to implement ECDIS, there is a danger that companies will do as little as possible to meet the required legislation and wait until the last minute to implement the technology, which would be far more dangerous than continuing to use tried and tested paper charts. If companies use only the most basic functions of ECDIS and crew are not well-trained and comfortable with electronic navigation, there is a risk that we could see more groundings and collisions, all while the technology’s vast potential sits untapped.
This problem can be significantly eased by ECDIS manufacturers, who must make the responsible choice to offer...
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Monday, 25 November 2013
Information and advice on moving from traditional paper navigational charts to ECDIS platforms has been offered in a new book published by The Nautical Institute.
The second edition of 'From Paper Charts to ECDIS' has been published to offer full guidance on training, practice and equipment. It has been four years since the first edition was released, and the Nautical Institute’s Sea Going Correspondence Group (SGCG) believed that this second version was necessary due to the masses of experience that has been gained within the field in recent years.
Author Captain Harry Gale said: “As well as supporting its members through this fundamental change, The Nautical Institute wants to ensure that the best practice encapsulated in this second edition, incorporating experience at sea, reaches as wide an audience as possible throughout the industry. Bridge procedures have to be amended to accommodate the very different working practices needed for using ECDIS and failure to instigate the discipline of being alert and engaged when using ECDIS may lead to distraction, complacency and ultimately accidents.”
The Institute’s chief executive Philip Wake added that the industry had been starting to learn about the importance of ECDIS training back in 2009, but this move from paper to technology has been deemed difficult. Since then, a series of recommendations have now been listed by the Institute, which feature in this new book. It is hoped that the information available will be applicable to shipowners until at least 2018, by which time training on most vessels should be completely accurate.
The book's launch was part of the E-Navigation Revolution conference in London on November 20th and 21st. The wider conference looked at navigational safety issues that still remain a top priority within the industry.
Monday, 11 November 2013
Eight South Yorkshire professionals took to the stage last week to do their bit for local cancer charity, Western Park.
In support of Director Steve Coulson, who bravely tried his hand at stand-up comedy, the whole Martek gang headed to Sheffield City Hall for Funny Business. The event was first run last year very successfully, and was therefore repeated this year, but with the aim of raising even more for the good cause!!
After a hilariously funny first half, Steve battled his nerves and brought his script to stage shortly after the interval, with a roaring cheer from the Martek Groupies.
With a script involving his two year old daughter and new born son, we were expecting hilarious tales of sibling rivalry and parent bribery – we weren't disappointed!
After a comical 10 minutes, Steve’s time on stage drew to a close, with big cheers from the supportive audience.
Unfortunately, after seeing all 8 contestants, it was clear it was going to be a tight competition, but the Martek business man managed to grab 3rd place, and in the process raised well over £1,000 for Weston Park Cancer Charity.
The whole night was a brilliant success for most – but a few shouldn't quit their day jobs just yet!! Tina Harrison from the charity announced the night was well on target to raising £30,000!
Posted by Martek Marine at 16:42
Friday, 11 October 2013
To gain the recognition of a company committed to customer service, we invited in an assessor from the ICS to look at our core values, how we assist customers at every step of the enquiry process, and our aims for the future.
The assessor had the chance to gain the views of employees from all departments, including marketing, sales, operations and finance.
The award was presented to CEO Paul Luen at our quarterly company meeting this month.
Paul exclaimed “I am delighted to have received the ServiceMark award from the ICS. It is recognition of the work Martek’s employees put in every day to ensure all our customers receive the highest customer service from the moment of enquiry, right through to receiving their Martek product, and the service thereafter.”
If you have any comments regarding how we can further build on our ServiceMark customer service recognition, feel free to post acomment below.
Thursday, 10 October 2013
This week, Executive Assistants Sam Sargent and Erica Hadley were at the Grange City Hotel in London to represent Martek Marine as we were selected as a finalist for the 2013 Employer of the Year award, in the Office Show by Hays Recruiting Experts.
The black tie event was a great chance to meet people within the secretarial and PA field, as well as celebrate our achievements as a company.
The time came to present the awards, and we were thrilled to accept 3rd place for employee of the year!
After the delicious three course meal, we had a chance to dance to disco classics, and mix our own songs on the decks.
The award now takes pride of place in our Rotherham Headquarters.
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
Last week was the annual International Marine and PurchasingAssociation Exhibition in London, and Martek were proud to attend once again.
Regional Sales managers Gary Rees and Ryan Bullock attended the event with Erica Hadley, Executive Assistant to the Sales Director.
Ryan commented “It was great to meet up with our customers at the IMPA conference once again. Seeing everyone at the UK’s leading maritime event brought a vibrant atmosphere to the event, and I can’t wait to be back again next year!”
The Martek stand had demonstrations of the recently launched potable water testing kits DRINKSAFE™ and DRINKSAFE™ Max, as well as portable gas detection, gas tubes, and calibration gas.
Erica Hadley said “It was great to catch up with old faces and meet new customers at this busy exhibition. We’ve made some great connections over the two days in London and we look forward to keeping in touch throughout the year.”
If you missed the Martek stand at the exhibition, take a look at our products on our website, and be sure to say ‘hi’ next year!
Monday, 5 August 2013
June has been a busy month at both our UK and Singapore offices, as we welcomed on board new starters in across all departments.
As Martek Marine to grow, Stephen Lapthorne has joined the team as our Finance Director. An accountant by profession, Steve has developed his career working in other successful privately-owned business around Yorkshire, as well as a 4 year period in an IT consultancy in New York.
Telesales Executive Deon Jacobs, has many years’ experience in sales and business development roles. He also has experience in event organising and management.
Our Asia Pacific team has also been expanding as Queenie Jeow and Stacey Gan joined the sales team. Queenie joins our team with 10 years of working in sales and purchasing. She will now be part of Martek’s ever expanding Fastcalgas Sales Coordinator team.
Stacy is looking forward to a new challenge at Martek, having previously worked in telemarketing and face to face sales, most recently within the energy industry. We’re excited to welcome the super-energetic Stacy to our Singapore office.
Jack Marsh is our youngest new recruit as he joins us as a Business Administration Apprentice. He will gain experience in all sectors of Martek from sales and service to finance and marketing. He is hoping his apprenticeship enables him to gain a sound knowledge of all areas within the business, as he exclaims he is “very excited to be joining a company as successful as Martek.”
And our newest recruit to the team is Regional Sales Manager, Gary Rees. Gary has over 12 years of experience with international sales in electro-optics industry.
We are now looking to bring on-board various roles throughout our South Yorkshire headquarters, including Regional Sales Manager, Fastcalgas Coordinator and Engineering Manager.
If you’re remarkable and want to be a part of the ever expanding Martek team, visit the careers page of the website to apply for any of the above vacancies and see what other roles we’re recruiting for.