captbbrucato (January 16th, 2013)
Should the IMO or USCG restrict the use of iPhones and iPads on ships?
The technology site Verge tells us "It makes perfect sense, but according to rules that have been in the books since 1981, use of such devices was allowed so long as pilots waited until the plane was above 10,000 feet. If a new proposal from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is passed, however, crew members in the cockpit won't be allowed to check email, browse the web, text, game, or perform any other personal activity on their device during any point of the flight."
According to the 19-page report the FAA published today in the Federal Register, the proposal doesn't restrict the use of electronic devices that assist "emergency, safety-related, or employment-related communications." In the past commercial pilots were required to bring up to 40 pounds of manuals and publications with them during each flight but, in recent years, these have been replaced with "electronic flight bags", devices similar to iPads which help pilots perform flight management tasks electronically.
The purpose of the regulation is to reduce distractions for pilots so they can pay better attention to air-traffic control, weather, environmental hazards and other concerns. But the new regulation goes a step further than prevention simple "texting while driving" and restricts the use of nearly all personal electronic equipment while you're operating the airplane. "Texting while driving has proven to be a dangerous distraction" said one pilot "and with the addition of wireless internet on many commercial flights, the FAA also wants to prevent pilots from surf the internet, update Facebook and watching videos while operating commercial aircraft."
In February 2009 a text message was sent by the the co-pilot in Colgan Air Flight 3407 just 5 minutes before takeoff. In the hour that followed the flight crashed, killing 50 people. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) did not claim the use of personal electronics caused the crash but it did recommended that the FAA prohibit their use in the cockpit.
This proposal brings up two questions for mariners. First, will shipping companies follow aviations lead and move operational manuals onto iPad like devices? Second, with cell phone being a contributing cause of numerous marine incidents accross the globe, from the mega-crusie ship disasters to small passenger boat tragedies, will the US Coast Guard follow the FAA's lead and ban the use of electronic devices on US Flagged ships?
FAA will collect comments about the proposal for 60 days.
captbbrucato (January 16th, 2013)
This could be far reaching, they should also remove the OFFICE from the bridge. To often when piloting ships the Master and mate are both behind the curtain banging away on the computers not monitoring what's happing outside. Over the years so much non navigational stuff keeps showing up in the wheelhouse. To often the officers are doing other ship board task not relating to navigating the wheelhouse. The bridge needs to return to being the Navigation Bridge not the ships OFFICE.
Non operational use ( NTSB term) of cell phones/ computers should be avoided while underway in confined waters.
In high risk zones this should be done, but out in the open ocean not much point for it.
John, Thank you for this very useful post. Prohibiting the use of Mobile Phones on the bridge has long been a strong recommendation throughout the maritime industry and is seen as best practice by many vessel operators, mainly due to the high number of incidents which have occurred over the past 20 years where this was identified as a primary or contributing cause. Although not yet an IMO regulation it would be prudent to procedulise this a SOLAS requirement, which would naturally include the use of IPads and IPhones.
I can say with certainty that if there is an accident involving an allision/collision, there will be investigation in to cell phone usage by the captain and/or mates. Plaintiff attorneys are clued in. It's a big issue as some here have pointed out.
As an operator/owner, it will be imperative that they stay on top of this and have a zero tolerance policy or else they run the risk of getting tagged in the event of an accident.
there is a high probability the next update to GMDSS will be to install local cell network on every vessel
This can then control your phone, send or receive a distress to all phones but cut your personal chat out
allow a 911 call to pick up the distress info then send it out
have comms with everyone on board
get a water proof phone and you go overboard and you effectively have comms and epirb, with gps in the phone the vessel can track you or a shore station
get rid of most of that kit on the bridge, I'm sure it will all be cheaper and more effective
After coming from the railroad industry previously, I can tell you its coming one day. Remember the bad accident in california a few years ago that killed all those passengers. The operator was texting and ran a red signal. Next was federal law, no text and phone calls and no surfing the web anywhere in the cab of the locomotive. First incident killing passengers on a vessel because the capt was texting and ran into something will be the reason to end cells in the pilothouse.
That already happened, remember the duck boat??Originally Posted by Knottyboy
We have a "hotline" # to call, to report people using thier cellphones on watch. It sounds nice in theory, and we are all supposed to be adults and know when its appropriate, my prayers go out to the first guy caught throwing someone under the bus.
My opinion is that regulation should make it that all computer systems without a navigational purpose should be banished from a vessels bridge. Paper work can be done in the ships office, the bridge should be for pure navigation. Auditors that even find the game of solitaire on the bridge let alone some kind of paperwork should find that as a deficiency.
Obviously where the bridge is used for other critical operations this would be an exception to the rule, but for any sign of paperwork that could be done in a ship office done on the bridge computer systems should be considered a deficiency.
Cell phones are tools. Modern phones can aid or hinder in the safe navigation of a vessel. As with all tools the user decides which.
RubberRhib888 (January 20th, 2013)
The ship was backing out of the drydock heading for sea trials and hit the other drydock on the other side of the river. This was the fault of the pilot. The ship went out on sea trial and returned to the yard. So the ship leaves the yard heading for the loading port, heading out the channel the river pilot heads down to the sideport to get off and the bridge cell phone rings and its the company asking questions about the drydock hit, office guy wanted to talk before the ship got out of cell range. Captains on the Bridge talking, pilots heading for the boat. as the pilot heads down the ladder he calls on the radio to the Captain, who is still on the phone, "if you give it hard right you should miss it" Captain, still on the phone asks the 3rd mate, "miss what?" 10 seconds later the ship hit the Sea Buoy almost head on. Took 28 pounds of bronze off 3 blades of the prop. Talking on the phone.
This reply is for most ATB's. The mates get paid for a Twelve (12) hour day and usually stand 4 on 8 off at sea, so there should be plenty of time to do paper work without having to worry about O/T.
Now the problem is having a place to do it, on the older rigs they still have a lower pilot house but the newer rigs only have one. Do any of the new builds have an office where the computer work could be done?
A Good Friend will Bail you out of Jail, But a Great Friend will be sitting right next to you saying WOW that was a Blast!
seadog6608 (January 22nd, 2013)
If you work in Brazil for Petrobras, your phone goes in a tamper proof bag at the heliport and you must show it once you disembark after your hitch. It better be intact.Originally Posted by john
"Captain standard operating procedure for decision making is to do what feels right to you at the time, and then to give logical sounding justifications for what you were already going to do anyway" -