ECDIS training is a legal requirement!
The following provides a detailed explanation of why training is required and a link to a document containing the relevant sections of the documents that establish the legal basis for the requirements.
History and Implications:
The basic need for ECDIS training has been recognized by the industry for a long time and those needs were formulated over a period of time. They were finally voted at the IMO “Conference of Parties to Adopt Amendments to the 1978 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW, 1995 Edition)” held in Manila from the 21st to 25th June, 2010.
The requirements were then incorporated into the STCW Code following the conference in what is commonly referred to as “The Manila Amendments”, being the STCW 2010 edition.
STCW does not have the force of law and normally requires ratification by national governments to come into force. The IMO Manila Conference, however, agreed that the Convention amendments would be adopted under the SOLAS 1974 Tacit Acceptance Procedure, by which the amendments would be automatically accepted on 1st July 2011 unless more than 50% of the parties to the conference objected to such a development. This did not happen and, as a result, the STCW Manila Amendments entered into force on January 1, 2012.
Training requirements and the clarification thereof:
The new requirements in ECDIS training from the STCW 2010 Manila Amendments, the ISM Code and consequently tough Port State Control regulations mean that flexible and hands-on, type-specific, training has become an essential for today’s seafarers.
The mandatory requirement for type-specific training came into force on 01 January, 2012 independent of the schedule for the fitting of ECDIS to new ships, which will only begin on 01 July 2012. The training requirement affects every officer moving to a ship with an unfamiliar ECDIS brand. PSC will therefore be looking for clear evidence that the OOWs are competent with the installed equipment.
Deficient competences in the handling of navigation consoles by bridge officers do constitute a danger in the safe operation of a ship. One of the major reasons for this is that officers are usually only trained on one specific system, while there is a wide range of console manufacturers where interface structures and control layout are not harmonized. Equally Flag States word their own requirements variously.