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9 A Vision of the Future This chapter represents the committee's perspective on the major changes that are in progress and that are likely to drive the marine navigation and piloting system over the next decade. The vision also includes high-level findings by the committee, supported by evidence and analysis in the report, in areas where action is needed to derive the greatest benefit from these trends while avoiding potential pitfalls. These findings form the foundation for the specific conclusions and recommendations in Chapter 10. IMPROVING SAFETY PERFORMANCE Success in reducing operational risk in shipping will depend heavily and directly on measures to improve human performance. Human causes are major contributing factors in most marine accidents. The research literature needed to support improvements in the marine navigation and piloting system, especially research related to human systems and organizational processes, is limited; this research base needs to be developed as a foundation for providing clear and specific prescriptions for improvement. Nevertheless, analysis of available facts and anecdotal information provides a sufficient basis to guide a range of near- and long-term improvements in human performance, organizational structure and processes, and the application of technology to reduce operational risk and . . . ~ improve navigation safety. Scope of Needed Improvements Improvements are needed throughout the entire marine navigation and pilot 305
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306 MINDING THE HELM ing system, nationally and internationally, in human systems, organizational structures and processes for interdependent decision making and official over- sight, and navigation technologies. Action by the United States, other nations, and international bodies will be essential in addressing the full range of opera- tional and environmental risks related to construction, maintenance, outfitting, qualifying officers and crews, manning, and operation of U.S.-flag vessels and the many foreign-flag vessels in U.S. trade. SPECIFIC AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT Enforcement of Marine Safety Laws and llegulations Port-state control actions by the United States to motivate improvements in the operating practices of foreign-flag ships will become increasingly important, as small size and economic competitiveness of the U.S. merchant fleet provide limited leverage for negotiating improvements in international marine safety measures. The imposition of unilateral measures by the United States to force improvements to reduce operational and environmental risk will depend on the adequacy of international marine safety guidelines, the degree to which flag states adhere to them, and the effectiveness of port-state control in enforcing flag state international treaty obligations. Marine Pilots The role and importance of U.S. marine pilots in ensuring the safe operation of foreign-flag ships in U.S. waters will grow, regardless of technological ad- vances; a marine pilot is the first, and often the only, representative of national interests routinely aboard foreign-flag ships transiting pilotage waters. Require- ments for pilotage of U.S.-flag vessels in coastwise and foreign trade will contin- ue to be important in ensuring the expert local knowledge needed for safe navi- gation in U.S. ports, waterways, and their immediate approaches. The present U.S. structure for pilotage will need to be improved to adequately support pilots in these functions and to ensure the sufficiency of their professional develop ment. Marine Traffic Regulation The regulation of marine traffic, primarily through vessel traffic service (VTS) operations, will grow in importance as a method for improving organiza- tional structure and for directly influencing safe vessel operations, including vessel approaches to coastal waters. Development of installed and portable inter- active navigation systems will provide a capability for electronic data transmis- sion between vessels and shore stations. In ports where traffic management is
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A VISION OF THE FUTURE 307 not needed, VTS operations no longer will involve human-intensive shore-based processing and interpretation of encounter-specific and area-wide navigation in- formation but rather electronic transmission of this data for onboard interpreta- tion by masters, mates, and marine pilots. In these cases, the shore-based VTS could function as an information system, perhaps with safety oversight responsi- bilities. In such instances, safety oversight will provide an additional defense against human causes of marine accidents, such as misinterpretation of maneu- vering situations. Coast Guard consultation and coordination with marine pilots, mariners in the shipping and towing industries, and other members of the mari- time community will become more important as a principal means for obtaining the expertise and advice necessary to guide effective marine traffic regulation. Surveys of channel conditions for determining the need for maintenance dredging and dissemination of related hydrographic information, especially to marine pilots, will become more important as channel improvements continue to lag behind modern ship hull forms and maneuvering performance. Port calls by ships that exceed channel design criteria will increase in number. Marine traffic regulation and marine pilotage authorities will require technical support in as- sessing the adequacy of channel design to support these operations. Navigation and Piloting Technology Advanced navigation technologies offer great potential to provide instanta- neous and highly accurate positioning support under all operating conditions and to permit adherence to more-precise paths than are now possible. Once the Dif- ferential Global Positioning System is fully operational and a suitable electronic chart suite is available, electronic charting systems will become standard operat- ing equipment. Electronic charting systems that consist of at least an electronic chart and real-time position data, and which meet legal requirements for naviga- tion, could achieve universal commercial use following the examples of radar and very high frequency radio, although international action may be required for this to occur. The adopting of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (which by international and national definition be considered equivalent to paper charts for use in navigation), if it occurs as expected, will necessitate a radical change from print publications to electronic media as the method of disseminat- ing updates in hydrographic information. Installation of fully integrated ship bridges will be limited, with the primary application on new ships and some retrofitting of older ships, such as those carrying petroleum cargoes. Significant institutional obstacles and unresolved liability issues concerning the reliability and use of electronic charts will constrain full use of these systems over the next 5 to 10 years. Also constraining their use will be the imperfect hydrographic data available for navigation. These data are far less accurate and complete than are the emerging electronic navigation positioning and display capabilities that could use them. New and more comprehensive data need to be
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308 MINDING THE HELM collected. Meanwhile, a proliferation of equipment types, capabilities, and con- figurations will emerge in the rush to market advanced positioning equipment. Comprehensive technical and operational standards, some of which are under development, are urgently needed to guide these developments. The new tech- nologies will change and expand professional development requirements for ships' officers and marine pilots. Professional regulation and training programs and capabilities will need to be responsive to these changes in order to ensure proficiency in the use of high-technology navigation systems and maximum ben- efits from their application in reducing operational risk. Traditional Aids to Navigation Traditional aids to navigation will continue to be useful into the foreseeable future, particularly for marine pilots. Although reliance on aids will continue to vary by operating environment, pilots will find them essential as a point of comparison for assessing the capabilities of advanced navigation systems in pi- loting waters. Visual and lighted ranges will continue to be particularly impor- tant for navigation in restricted waters because of the reference they provide for channel alignment and drift. Enhancements to improve the visibility of ranges are needed; the development of electronic ranges that can be used during periods of reduced visibility would be particularly useful. Technology and Crew Size Economic interests will continue to motivate efforts to replace rather than supplement operating personnel with advanced technology systems. Some oper- ators of foreign-flag ships on regular routes may seek to reduce operating costs by attempting to substitute advanced navigation technologies for local marine pilots. Replacement of vessel personnel with automated systems could increase the functional responsibilities of the remaining personnel while also leaving ves- sels with minimum crews during operations in pilot waters where hazards abound, or during emergencies aboard ship or in the waterways. Such operating conditions and contingencies may necessitate requirements for additional navi- gation and deck support for transits of pilot waters and for docking and undock . . sing eve unions. FEDERAL AGENCY ROLES To improve the marine navigation and piloting system, cooperative efforts will be required among the federal agencies with maritime responsibilities. Fed- eral leadership with a broad, multi-agency perspective will be needed to set a well-charted course that maximizes the resources that can be applied to opera- tions and to maritime research and development. Organizational relationships
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A VISION OF THE FUTURE 309 and processes will need to be redefined and improved to achieve these objec- tives. Federal support of marine education and training in the shipping and tow- ing sectors will need to be expanded, particularly as a means for improving human performance and reducing operational risk. Continued federal sponsor- ship of marine research and development for advanced ship and navigation sys- tems will be essential in facilitating introduction and use of these technologies by U.S.-flag vessels. National measures to ensure the safety of all shipping in federal waters will remain a U.S. Coast Guard responsibility, although that agency's resource con- straints across its multimission responsibilities are likely to continue. Apart groin marine pilotage and special environmental safety requirements, such as for tug escorts, exercise of marine safety measures by U.S. coastal states will be limited to those areas where the federal government has not acted or where parallel . . .. . . JOrlsOlctlorl exists.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: