The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has started a safety study, in collaboration with the Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board, looking at the way electronic chart and display information systems (ECDIS) are currently being used onboard ships.
The study comes in the wake of MAIB’s just published report into the December 2016 grounding of the Muros bulk carrier off the coast of eastern England, in which it was found that ECDIS use onboard was not as envisaged by regulators or equipment manufacturers, an issue MAIB has noted on a number of other shipping incidents in recent years.
The study will research why seafarers are utilising ECDIS in ways that are often at variance with the instructions and guidance provided by the system manufacturers and regulators. The overarching objective of the study is to provide comprehensive data that can be used to improve the
functionality of future ECDIS systems by encouraging the greater use of operator experience and human centred design principles.
MAIB noted in its 33-page accident report on the Muros: “[I]f ECDIS is to make its intended contribution to navigation safety, further research is required to assess in detail the difficulties faced by ECDIS operators and the consequences of the systems’ limitations so that these can be addressed in future designs.”