Bridge systems installed on European-flagged vessels will soon need to comply with IMO’s BAM and IEC standards
From 30 August 2021, bridge systems integrated into newbuilds and retrofit projects for European Union-flagged vessels, will need additional certification to prove conformance with IMO’s performance standards for Bridge Alert Management (BAM).
According to the EU’s Marine Equipment Directive (MED), these will need to be certified to the new test standards from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
Sperry Marine technical manager Simon Cooke expects that whilst equipment already on board will not require updating, this will “result in increased carriage of equipment that applies IMO’s BAM concept and a corresponding reduction in the mariners’ workloads to manage and understand alerts.”
“These new performance standards were intended to address the increasing number of audible alerts on the bridge that required action by the mariner,” says Mr Cooke. It started in 2010, when IMO set out BAM performance standards in Resolution MSC.302(87).
“BAM performance standards harmonise the priority, classification and presentation of alerts and have the goal of avoiding distraction of the bridge team by unnecessary audible and visual alarm announcements,” says Mr Cooke.
BAM performance standards, in force since 2014, define requirements for a central alert manager, together with a corresponding human machine interface. In 2018, IEC published the standards IEC 62923-1/2 to test for conformance with Resolution MSC.302(87). “These IEC test standards added further technical detail of how to implement the IMO resolution and the IEC also published interface requirements between BAM-compliant equipment to support improved alert management,” explains Mr Cooke.
“It was made clear that the alarms raised should be focussed on helping the mariner understand the alert condition, as opposed to being overly technical in nature,” he continues, “and manufacturers can adopt the new optional icons in order to clearly indicate the priority and type of each alert.” Sperry Marine is adopting these new icons in its bridge systems.
Vessels will continue to carry legacy equipment that is not fully BAM compliant, “so provision was made for this legacy equipment to adopt the BAM concepts as far as practical when integrated with other systems,” says Mr Cooke.
IMO’s drive to improve performance and alert management has been further adopted by the EU’s MED, with the 30 August deadline. The UK is expected to apply equivalent requirements to UK-flagged vessels, “and other administrations may take a similar approach,” Mr Cooke says.
In the longer term, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) is implementing the S-100 standard and related changes as part of IMO’s e-navigation Strategy Implementation Plan. This would result in changes to standards for ECDIS and other electronic navigational charts (ENCs) during this decade.
Comité International Radio-Maritime (CIRM) president James Collett says S-100 will broaden the range of e-navigation and improve interoperability between products and services. “S-100 represents the biggest change to ECDIS since the introduction of the ECDIS carriage requirements,” he says. “We will see S-101 adopted as the new standard for ENCs to meet the chart carriage requirement.”
IMO will need to revise the ECDIS performance standards for S-101 to be adopted, but this could be delayed by the impact of Covid-19 on IMO’s work programmes. However, it will be worthwhile, as introducing S-100 and the related standards will help address issues shipping companies and navigators have highlighted, says Mr Collett.
As an example, S-102 defines a standard for high-definition bathymetric data that has the potential to give navigators a much finer selection of contours when setting a safety contour on the ECDIS. These help mariners avoid grounding when operating in shallow water.
The S-104 standard for water-level information “offers the possibility of integrating tidal adjustment much more tightly into the ECDIS,” Mr Collett explains.
On the product front, more developments are coming in autopilots and internet-of-things (IoT). For example, Japan Radio Co (JRC)’s Alphatron Marine has upgraded its autonomous pilot technology for workboats and fast crew tender vessels.
It has introduced adaptive autopilot AlphaPilot MFS-VR, which uses information on the speed or draught of a vessel to implement an optimised route for vessels. It can be easily retrofitted during vessel upgrades.
AlphaPilot MFS-VR is a speed-adaptive, type-approved autopilot with a version for vessels capable of transiting at speeds of up to 30 knots. It has also been type-approved for high-speed craft, compliant with international standard ISO-16329, to provide an overall speed application range for vessels up to 70 knots.
In June 2021, JRC/Alphatron Marine and Navis Engineering signed a memorandum of understanding to develop and deliver ship motion-control systems. They plan to integrate autopilot and dynamic positioning (DP) as part of JRC’s navigation systems for offshore vessels. They have already produced Dynapilot, combining autopilot, joystick control and DP functionality. This is scheduled for launch in Q4 2021.
NAVTOR has introduced its next generation of voyage planning systems and software to improve navigational safety and efficiency for owners. It has unveiled NavStation 6.0, with a major upgrade to its passage planning software for faster and higher quality chart rendering, more robust cyber security and better functionality for busy vessel navigators. The passage planning module cuts administration time from an average of over three hours per voyage to 30 minutes.
In 2020, NAVTOR integrated Weathernews Inc’s optimum ship routeing for berth-to-berth navigation, enabling shore managers to get more oversight and control.
Norway-based ScanReach has developed a wireless IoT platform for cable-free connectivity and communications on board ships, providing real-time fuel consumption data to bridge teams using its new ConnectFuel service.
ScanReach chief business officer Jacob Grieg Eide says vessel owners have achieved up to 10% fuel savings by providing fuel data to deck officers. “Feedback from the industry shows a strong belief that a lack of instant fuel consumption awareness could lead to overconsumption of fuel,” he added.
“BAM standards harmonise the priority, classification and presentation of alerts”
ConnectFuel has already been fitted on ships where it links flow meters, clamped on to fuel lines, to displays on the bridge and shoreside offices to provide instant visual indication of fuel consumption and historic data for a selected period, enabling this information to be assessed on board and by shore-based managers.
ConnectFuel uses ScanReach’s onboard steel penetrating mesh of wireless nodes, removing the need for cabling to transfer the data around the ship. It is quick to fit by a vessel’s crew, with installation taking as little as two hours.
ConnectFuel delivers instant fuel data and provides information for regulatory purposes, such as IMO’s fuel oil data collection system and the EU’s monitoring, reporting and verification requirements.
Caterpillar Marine has revealed new wheelhouse displays for engine monitoring and control. Its CMD series of wheelhouse displays include Cat CMD5 with a 5-inch display, CMD8 and CMD13 which has a 13.3-inch display. These displays can seamlessly integrate with other bridge technology, are type-approved and environmentally sealed to be waterproof for a wide range of temperature conditions. With multiple graphic skin options for displaying engine information in different environments, they have Modbus support for monitoring multi-engine applications in a single display, including IT camera support enabling visual monitoring of the engineroom from the helm.
Navico to be acquired in US$1Bn deal
Brunswick Corp is acquiring Norway-headquartered OSV bridge systems supplier Navico for US$1.05Bn to accelerate growth in marine technology.
The Illinois, US-headquartered marine product supplier has agreed to purchase Navico for its marine electronics and sensors businesses, using a combination of debt and cash on its balance sheet.
Brunswick intends to add Navico’s Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, and C-MAP brands to its Advanced Systems Group (ASG) once the company is purchased from owners Altor Fund IV and Goldman Sachs Asset Management. ASG supplies power management, digital control, monitoring and networked devices in maritime industries. Navico provides multifunctional displays, autopilots, sonar, radar, and cartography. Navico and Brunswick expect the transaction to be completed in Q4 2021.