727 - 11/10 - Mobile phones on the Bridge - Worldwide

In light of recent marine accidents involving distraction of the Navigational watch through the use of mobile phones the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) has issued recommendations to the US coastguard to produce policy on the use of cell phones on Coastguard vessels. Subsequently the Coastguard heeded these recommendations by prohibiting the use of mobile cell phones on Coastguard vessels

On two separate occasions coastguard vessels have been involved in collisions which have resulted in many personal injury claims and the tragic death of a child. Investigation in to the root cause of both collisions is still underway but it is understood that on both occasions watch officers were distracted from the navigational duties by text-messaging activities or conversations unrelated to vessel operations.

Similar Guidance has been issued by the UK Marine and Coastguard Agency (MGN 299) to all UK Flagged vessels highlighting the dangers of distractions caused by mobile phones and strongly endorses the recommendation of the development of a procedure to cover the use of mobile phones. Further the MCA advises that consideration should be given to the prohibition of all mobile phones from the bridges of ships when navigational requirements demand the utmost focus of the Bridge team.

The Club would like to highlight to its members the potential loss dues to claims arising from collisions and that any distraction to the Bridge team from their operational duties should be avoided. 

Source of information: Loss Prevention Dept.

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