A global company of marine surveyors and consultants offering surveys and services tailor made for marine insurers and their clients in the 21st century


1st March 2014

February provided some interesting surveys. Richard Postles was attending in Poland, Denmark, Bulgaria and also in Erith in South East London, which is not a common place requested for surveys. Simon Groves was in Trinidad involved in a survey of a tug and a barge as well as a shipyard survey. Ezequiel Castro was twice in Venezuela, once in Guanta and after in Puerto Pertigalete, Puerto La Cruz. He surveyed a general cargo and bulk carrier vessels. After that we knew that Venezuela had broken diplomatic relations and frozen economic ties with Panama, which affected the surveyors in Panama.

We normally mention some special issues regarding the surveys we carried out. This time we would like to talk about the BNWAS (Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm System).

The purpose of BNWAS is to monitor bridge activity and detect operator disability which could lead to marine accidents. The system monitors awareness of the Officer of the Watch (OOW) and automatically alerts the Master or another qualified person if for any reason OOW becomes incapable of performing OOW's duties. This purpose is achieved by series of indications and alarm to alert first the OOW and, if he is not responding, then to alert Master or another qualified person. Additionally, the BNWAS provides the OOW with means of calling for immediate assistance if required.

During one of the surveys conducted by our marine surveyors, one claim relates to the navigation officer falling asleep and the vessel hitting an island. There is supposed to be a bridge lookout in addition to the navigator but he was off the bridge. There was a bridge navigation watch alarm system (BNWAS) installed on the vessel, but this failed to prevent the navigating officer falling asleep. The BNWAS is turned on with a key switch and reset every twelve minutes with a push button.

After the incident a company circular was sent to all the vessels stating that the system must be activated when the captain leaves the bridge and he takes the key with him. This is good but it would be better if the system was activated when the autopilot came on and reset with motion detectors.