The recent announcement that the grounding of MV Danio on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast on March 16 was due to the ship’s Bridge Navigation Watch Alarm System (BNWAS) being switched off has been highlighted by Martek as yet another example of the need for password protection on BNWAS.
Martek pointed out that the IMO’s BNWAS performance standards set out in MSC.128(75) state that “the means of selecting the Operational Mode and the duration of the Dormant Period (Td) should be security protected so that access to these controls should be restricted to the Master only.” Most manufacturers include a physical key to lock the system. Unfortunately, this does not address the need for the controls to be restricted to the master only since any crew member is able to remove the key and take the BNWAS out of operational mode.
Martek’s Navgard BNWAS addresses this serious security risk using password protection to switch operational mode on and off, increasing security by giving the vessel’s master sole responsibility for the device’s operation. Adding further accountability, Navgard uses real-time data logging to record when the system is switched on and off, providing important evidence after an incident.
July 2014 sees the final stage of BNWAS regulations come into force, requiring installation of BNWAS on all existing cargo vessels over 150gt and under 500gt. Martek has compiled a BNWAS buyer’s guide with key questions and points for consideration with a comparison table, which can be downloaded at bnwas.com/media/bnwas-buyers-guide-2012.pdf.