Martek Marine, UK-headquartered manufacturer of maritime safety systems, has announced the launch of a Lloyd’s Register MED-approved BNWAS designed specifically for smaller bridges to meet the next stage of BNWAS implementation starting in July of this year. BNWAS regulations state that existing cargo vessels between 500-3000GT must be compliant by July 2013 and vessels between 150-500GT by July 2014.
The Navgard Mini offers the same functionality as Martek’s Navgard system in a more compact all-in-one-box unit. Navgard Mini is the only system available which has all IMO-compliant alarms and reset switches in a single enclosure, making it very simple to retrofit on the smaller bridges of tugs, OSVs and lower-capacity passenger vessels – the system simply requires a power supply to deliver full compliance with SOLAS regulation.
Existing systems require a button to be pushed to confirm the crew’s presence on the bridge. IMO legislation dictates that BNWAS systems’ first stage alarm must sound between every three to 12 minutes. If the reset button is not pressed, the second stage will activate after 15 seconds. If the button is still not pushed, the third alarm will sound between every 90 to 180 seconds.
Although effective in theory, there have been several incidents, including the grounding of MV Karin Schepers in 2009, on vessels which have had BNWAS installed but switched off, as crew have simply found it too demanding to continue with other necessary work while being disturbed by such frequent alarms and the requirement to push a button so regularly.
Martek has addressed this issue in several ways. Firstly, with the inclusion of the market’s first passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor. This is built in to the device’s panel and detects movement on the bridge. No alarm sounds as long as movement is detected on the bridge, and crew can work undisturbed. Only when the system detects no movement for a set time, between the IMO’s mandated three and 12 minutes, will the alarms sound. Because the PIR sensor is part of the panel, no extra installation is required and no additional wiring is needed, reducing the cost, installation time and space needed.
The second important feature is the password deactivation, also built in to the panel. Where BNWAS models have traditionally been turned off by a simple key, the Navgard Mini can only be deactivated by password. This increases accountability by giving the vessel’s Master the sole responsibility for the device’s operation. The system, which comes with a two-year warranty, also uses real-time data logging, providing essential evidence in the event of an incident and recording when the system is switched on and off so that checks can be made to ensure it is being used continuously.
Martek has compiled a BNWAS buyers’ guide with key questions and points for consideration with a comparison table, which is available here.