A recent article on the Canadian Underwriter website on the increase in global ship losses highlights the role that technology will play in reducing shipping accidents if carefully applied to the industry with quality training and well thought out operational implementation.
Increasingly, ship losses are becoming more and more visible to the general public, with recent cases such as the sinking of the cruise ship Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy striking a particular chord. This not only causes human tragedy but bad PR for the ship owners. As such it is shown that self-regulation is now as much a pressure driver as IMO-led requirements.
However, for as many owners that prioritise safety there are as many again that put costs far above. With freight rates depressed at the moment in most markets there is little free cash (and incentive) to invest in quality training and, as a consequence, some owners will decide to choose the cheapest option for compliance tick boxing only.
Human error is the biggest cause of accidents, but with the introduction of technology into ship operations this is on a downward trend in general and will continue in this way as technology improves, seafarers gain competency and IMO regulation engulfs increasing segments of the industry.
Hopefully this provides an optimistic indication of the industry embracing ECDIS ahead of the mandate.