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Seafarer S-Mode sentiments sought

The Nautical Institute (NI) has begun a consultation process to help assess the latest proposals for standardised navigation equipment, under which it intends to seek the views of seafarers on the introduction of an ‘S-Mode’ on critical navigation systems.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The latest concept for S-Mode is in its final stages of development before being finalised next year, built around an ‘always on’ standardisation of key features that could then be adopted by manufacturers of navigation systems and incorporated into their products.

The latest suggestions from the project were presented at the IMO’s 5th NCSR (Navigation, Communication and Search and Rescue) Sub-committee meeting by NI and other stakeholders, including CIRM (Comité International Radio-Maritime), the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and delegation members from Australia and the Republic of Korea.

“The collaboration with industry stakeholders has taken years, however this new approach of standardisation should lead to more effective familiarisation for mariners and ultimately improve the safety of navigation,” said David Patraiko, NI director of projects

“For many years, and particularly with the increased complexity of ship systems, mariners have been challenged when sailing on different ships with different manufacturers’ equipment to become familiar with systems that are so safety critical.”

The new proposal, by CIRM, focuses on three elements that would be common to all manufacturers’ systems – a standard approach to hotkeys, the establishment of 'essential information blocks', and a defined list of functions that must be accessible by single or simple operator action.

However, NI notes that these proposals require feedback from mariners before they become enshrined in the IMO Guidance due to be finalised next year. As such, three short surveys have been created by the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences’ department of maritime studies and posted on the NI website (at to allow individuals and groups to offer their views.

Further background information on the project is available on the site, including a recorded webinar and full documentation, with the survey period to end on June 1.{/mprestriction}

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Digital Ship magazine provides the latest information about maritime satellite communications technology, software systems, navigation technology, computer networks, data management and TMSA. It is published ten times a year.


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