Fire Wires - Emergency Towing Off Pennants (ETOPS)

OCIMF has published a position paper which recommended the elimination of the Emergency Towing Off Pennants (ETOPS), commonly known as "Fire Wires" from ISGOTT and the ISGOTT Checklist since it is not an essential piece of equipment for vessel's safety.

What ships does it apply :
All Tankers

When does it come into force :

OCIMF commenced a study in 2002 on the ETOPS effectiveness.  The study revealed that whereas since 1967, no instances had been documented where the ETOPS had been used, some seventeen hundreds injuries to personnel, both minor and serious, had occurred when handling large steel "fire wires".  Efforts were made to determine a lighter rope of fiber construction with strength equivalent to steel wire rope, however, a consensus was not reached and in 2007, a risk assessment by Lloyds Register was commissioned.  The Lloyds Register's assessment concluded that the use of ETOPS should no longer be recommended and this was accepted by OCIMF.

ECDIS - Electronic Chart Display & Information System

ECDIS - is a shipborne navigational system whose performance standards are specified in IMO Resolution A.817(19).  It must support the whole range of navigational functions that make use of the characteristics of the chart data and their specific presentation.  Moreover, to be an ECDIS, the equipment must be shown to meet all the requirement of the IMO Performance Standards and offer, besides the graphic presentation of chart data, additional information about the characteristics of the displayed features.

Electronic Chart Display Systems

Standard features of electronic chart display systems include the display of electronic vector and/or raster charts overlaid with the position of the ship and its track, and facilities to route plan and automatically update charts using digital notices to mariners.  Navigation sensors such as GPS, log and gyro will be connected to provide positional information.  An autopilot may also be connected when the electronic chart display system is installed as part of an integrated bridge system.

Electronic Charts - ENC and RNC

There are two kinds of official electronic charts commonly available:

1. Vector or Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC)
2. Raster Navigational Charts (RNC)

Vector Charts - are compiled by attributing to each and every chart feature a set of values, and each chart feature is stored in a layered digital database.  Storage in a database allows the chart data to be displayed as a seamless chart, while layering enables field of data that are not required at the time to be removed from display to reduce chart clutter.

Chart features can be interrogated to display additional information about charted objects.

The inherent "intelligence" of vectorised charts allows three dimensional "route safety zone monitoring".  Chart depth contours and air draught clearances around the ship can be monitored automatically, both while the route is being planned and while the ship is on passage.  Alarms will be triggered automatically if a safety zone around a ship s breached.

Lifejackets - New Requirements

Changes to the LSA Code and SOLAS – requirements for lifejackets

Amendments to Chapter II of the International Life-Saving Appliance (LSA) Code come into effect on July 1, 2010, and introduce the following new requirements for the approval of lifejackets:

• Each lifejacket shall be fitted with a whistle firmly secured by a lanyard.
• Lifejacket lights and whistles shall be selected and secured to the lifejacket in such a way that their performance in combination is not degraded.
• Each lifejacket shall be provided with a releasable buoyant line or other means to secure it to a lifejacket worn by another person in the water.
• Each lifejacket shall be provided with a suitable means to allow a rescuer to lift the wearer from the water into a survival craft or rescue boat.

The requirements apply:
• to lifejackets provided on board ships constructed (having their keel laid) on or after July 1, 2010
• when providing new lifejackets to vessels with a keel laying date before July 1, 2010.

New requirements for the carriage of additional equipment, also effective July 1, 2010, have been introduced under the SOLAS Convention, as follows:

The Good Seaman

At all times, safe navigation requires effective command, control, communication and management.  It demands that that the situation, the level of bridge manning, and the operational status of navigation systems, the ship's engines and auxiliaries are all taken into account.

It is people that control ships, and it is therefore people, together with management and teamwork, who are the key to reliable performance.  People entrusted with the control of ships must be competent to carry out their duties.

People also make mistakes and so it is necessary to ensure that monitoring and checking prevent chains of error from developing.  Mistakes cannot be predicted and, once a mistake has been detected, it is human nature to seek to fit circumstances to the original premise, thus compounding a simple error of judgment.

Extracted from : Bridge Procedures Guide, 4th Ed.