BIMCO advocates bridge standards at IMO


IMO to discuss the BIMCO proposal to improve standardisation of bridge equipment during next week’s meeting at the IMO.

At the 5th session of IMO Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) – the IMO will work to improve bridge equipment, harmonise digitalisation of communication and progress e-Navigation.

The session will be held from 19 to 23 February 2018 in London. The NCSR considers technical and operational matters related to safety of navigation on board ships.

Human interface of electronic navigation equipment

The standardised mode of operation (S-Mode) guideline will promote standardisation of user interfaces for navigation equipment and systems to help meet user needs.  The concept calls for all navigation systems in the future to have a standard ‘S-Mode’ switch, that when activated return to a default standard display, for example, head-up display, relative vectors and so on.

The guideline has been developed in close collaboration between equipment manufacturers, BIMCO, universities and member states to reflect all sides of the industry. The application of S-Mode will help to reduce the burden of seafarers becoming familiar with different electronic navigation equipment.

In January 2018, BIMCO hosted a workshop to ensure that users could provide input to the S-mode work. The purpose was to do a trial of the methods used to gain seafarers’ input on the standardisation of e-navigation interfaces as outlined in the IMO submission. The trial was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the intended methods: the usability of icons, the grouping of data on the navigation displays, and the default settings of navigation systems.

Digitalising communication

The plan to implement e-Navigation consists of Maritime Service Portfolios (MSPs), which is a set of operational and/or technical services bundled together for a very specific purpose. The MSPs will pave the way for digitalising communication between the ship and the shore side. The NCSR will define and harmonize the format and structure of MSPs and provide guidance on the appropriate communication channels.

BIMCO proposes to establish a maritime register (database) containing data elements' identity (ID) for harmonised use when providing Maritime Services. The register should be harmonised and standardised in order to ensure interoperability between services and to facilitate direct exchange of information, as well as to enable machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.

Polar Code

The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) recently entered into force and work needs to be carried out to supplement IMO performance standards for navigation and communication equipment. It will take a lot of work to revise all the performance and test standards and requirements.

IMO to discuss BIMCO standard on software maintenance

BIMCO and CIRM will inform the IMO about the newly published Industry standard on software maintenance of shipboard equipment, which provides information on an industry standard recently published to address Software Maintenance of Shipboard Equipment. The aim of the industry standard is to improve the quality of software maintenance on board ships. The standard can be downloaded for free from the BIMCO web-page.

BIMCO to support electronic MSI display

IMO is working on changing from the printed version of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) to an electronic display. An interesting proposal is to integrate and present available navigation-related information from VHF/MF/HF DSC in an information display (Conning Display).

BIMCO’s role in this work is to support the digitalisation process and to ensure that we achieve the best possible man-machine interface on the bridge. The man-machine interface is an important issue driven by BIMCO’s Marine Committee.

Aron Soerensen
in Copenhagen, DK


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