Two new guides from UK MCA

The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency has published two guides that Steamship Mutual has said would “be very useful for many Members”.

Marine Guidance Note 349. Navigation: Use of Electronic Navigation Aids

Key Points:

  • Be aware that each item of equipment is an aid to navigation.
  • Be aware of the factors which affect the accuracy of position fixing systems.
  • Appreciate the need to cross check position fixing information using other methods.
  • Recognise the importance of the correct use of navigational aids and knowledge of their limitations.
  • Be aware of the dangers of over-reliance on the output from, and accuracy of, a single navigational aid.

MCA said that the accuracy and functionality of electronic aids to navigation had increased considerably in recent years. However MCA warned that there was still a danger that over-reliance on the output from a single item of equipment might lead to an accident.

It said that the need to cross-check the vessel’s position using other means was “as important today as it ever was, as is the basic requirement under Rule 5 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 as amended, known as COLREGS, to maintain a proper lookout”.

MCA noted that accidents had occurred with ships equipped with the best of equipment where watch-keepers had been over-reliant on the equipment output, and disaster could have been averted by the simple expedient of maintaining a proper lookout.

Merchant Shipping Notice 1868. Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping Convention: UK requirements for Safe Manning and Watchkeeping.

This Merchant Shipping Notice sets out and explains the safe manning requirements contained in the Merchant Shipping (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) Regulations 2015 and the STCW Convention and Code and incorporates International Maritime Organization Resolution A1047(27) on the Principles of Safe Manning.