BNWAS to become mandatory on all SOLAS vessels
During the June 2009 MSC meeting, it was not only decided to make carriage of an ECDIS mandatory but also about carriage requirements for a BNWAS (Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm System).
BNWAS, also called ’Watch alarm system’ or ’Dead man alarm system’, is intended to increase navigational safety on board.
The system typically consists of an operation unit which is installed in the bridge console, and one reset button on each workstation on the bridge. The captain’s cabin and further crew accommodation, e.g. first officer’s cabin, officers’ messroom or officers’ corridor are also equipped with an alarm panel. The system must have an input from autopilot for automatic start as soon as steering mode is set to autopilot, and an output to the general alarm system and to the bridge alarm system or nautical alarm system.
The BNWAS system issues a visual alarm on all buttons installed on the bridge every 3-12 minutes which has to be reset. If there is no reset after 15 seconds, an audible alarm starts. If this is not reset after another 15 seconds the alarm sounds in the captain’s cabin. After another 90 seconds other crew members must be alerted, and normally this is done by general alarm.
The performance standard for this system, MSC.128(75) was already adopted on 20th May 2002, but was not mandatory except for certain class notations with regard to ’one-man-bridge’ regulations.
Most vessels will not have such a system installed and need to be retrofitted.
Furthermore all newbuild vessels must be fitted with this system:
- 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
Please note: for German flag vessels, a nautical alarm system must be integrated with the watch alarm system.
Existing watch alarm systems may be approved even if they do not fulfil the requirements from MSC.128(75).
There are systems from various suppliers available and we are currently investigating which system to offer you.
If you have any questions about these new requirements or would like to receive a quotation, please contact us.
Please see resolutions MSC.282(86) and MSC.128(75) for further information.