Optimal routing is an essential part of Voyage planning. Traditionally, optimal routing has been avoiding areas with high risk of cargo damage. With advanced weather forecasting, the forecast period has become longer. With advanced data communication, it is possible to deliver the updated forecasts onboard, and weather routing has become dynamic and adaptive to the real weather and is no longer merely avoidance of high risk areas.
Built on the advent of modern electronics, ECDIS is bringing in a whole new level of performance by transferring all chart work elements onto an electronic display screen. This allows the seamless integration of Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC), GPS position fixing and other navigational tools, including radar, echo sounder, AIS and NAVTEX. Multiple functions are made available with just one click on the computer keyboard, a tap on an icon or the use of a mouse. Suddenly, the supporting tools needed to operate paper charts are history.
On 2nd July 2012 the Antigua and Barbuda registered cargo ship Coastal Isle was en route from Belfast to Greenock when at 0500hrs in the morning it grounded at Garroch Point on the southern coast of the Island of Bute. The vessel grounded due to the fact that the chief officer on watch left the bridge to go to the toilet.
A few days ago the Standard P&I Club issued a safety bulletin regarding Navigational Incidents and Collisions. The Standard P&I Club has investigated the number and cost of navigational incidents over the past ten years and the facts are alarming at many levels. In the past five years, there have been 85 claims of over $1m of which over 50% were directly related to navigational issues.