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New IMO requirement for BNWAS

1 January 2011: Entry into force of June 2009 amendments to SOLAS ECDIS and BNWAS to be made mandatory under SOLAS Amendments to SOLAS regulation V/19, to make mandatory the carriage of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm Systems (BNWAS), under SOLAS chapter V, Safety of Navigation. The requirements will be mandatory for new ships and phased-in for existing ships.

For vessels build to SOLAS standards, SOLAS regulation V/19 requires the carriage of a BNWAS, complying with IMO performance standards, on ships of 150 gross tonnage and upwards and passenger ships irrespective of size, with a phased carriage requirement for existing ships, as follows:

  • ships of 150 gross tonnage and upwards and passenger ships irrespective of size constructed on or after [1 July 2011]
  • passenger ships irrespective of size constructed before [1 July 2011], not later than the first survey after [1 July 2012]
  • ships of 3,000 gross tonnage and upwards constructed before [1 July 2011], not later than the first survey after [1 July 2012]
  • ships, of 500 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 3,000 gross tonnage, constructed before [1 July 2011], not later than the first survey after [1 July 2013]
  • ships, of 150 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 500 gross tonnage constructed before [1 July 2011], not later than the first survey after [1 July 2014]

IEC 62616: Bridge navigational watch alarm system (BNWAS)

BNWAS SELMA Ship 3

The purpose of a bridge navigational watch alarm system (BNWAS) is to monitor bridge activity and detect operator disability which could lead to marine accidents. The system monitors the awareness of the Officer of the Watch (00W) and automatically alerts the Master or another qualified 00W if for any reason the 00W becomes incapable of performing the OOW’s duties. This purpose is achieved by a series of indications and alarms to alert first the 00W and, if he is not responding, then to alert the Master or another qualified 00W. Additionally, the BNWAS may provide the 00W with a means of calling for immediate assistance if required. The BNWAS should be operational whenever the ship’s heading or track control system is engaged, unless inhibited by the Master.