IMO moves to standardise ECDIS, radar and INS displays

The most recent session of the Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR 6) concluded on 25 January

IMO’s Navigation, Communication, Search and Rescue sub-committee (NCSR) has reached agreement on three specific measures to standardise bridge equipment displays which, if adopted, will see all new integrated navigational displays (INS), radar and ECDIS required to display information in a harmonised manner from January 2024, with all other displays on the bridge to follow suit from July 2025.

The three documents outlining these new measures have now been forwarded by NCSR to IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for adoption in June this year. They are titled:

  1. Guidelines for the standardisation of user interface design for navigation equipment (Standardised mode). The formulated guidelines will apply to navigational equipment such as Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), Integrated Navigation Systems (INS) and Radar equipment.
  2. Guidelines for the presentation of navigational-related symbols, terms and abbreviations (SN.1/Circ.243.Rev1). These guidelines have been completely revised.
  3. Performance standards for the presentation of navigation-related information on shipborne navigational displays (MSC.191(79)). These standards have been amended.

Once the standardisation measures are adopted systems like radar, for example, would be required to display exactly the same information when the user selects ‘radar default settings’, irrespective of the make or model. Similarly, a ‘True motion reset’ will need to be able to be performed by the touch of a single button on both ECDIS and radar, across all makes and models.

The goal of the initiative is to standardise functionality across all radars, ECDIS and INS displays on all ships, to allow for an enhanced level of familiarisation and support safer operation of these systems.

“This development is an important step which will bring great benefits to the seafarers,” said Ashok Srinivasan, Manager, Maritime Technology and Regulation at BIMCO, and part of the NCSR sub-committee.

“In the future, they will be able to easily familiarise themselves with the different bridge displays. In fact, the number of hours spent on familiarisation training can be reduced. Above all, this will greatly assist the navigator in making better decisions and greatly contribute towards improvement in safety of navigation.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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