BNWAS IMO Requirements: Bridge Watch Alarm

The BNWAS is a SMALL equipment that can prevent BIG accidents. 

BNWAS IMO Resolution specifies the need for a series of indications and alarms. The BNWAS was made mandatory in amendments to Chapter V of SOLAS Regulation 19, which was adopted on June 5, 2009 by Resolution MSC.2. 

Purpose of BNWAS Installation:

BNWAS is the acronym for Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm System. The purpose of a BNWAS is to monitor bridge activity and detect operator disability, which could lead to maritime accidents, thus enhancing safety of navigation.

The investigation of KAREN DANIELSEN’s collision with the Great Belt West Bridge concluded that the use of the bridge watch alarm (or dead man alarm) would probably have prevented the accident.

Following this accident, the Bahamas Maritime Authority and the Danish Maritime Authority submitted a joint paper to the IMO to propose the adoption of mandatory fitting and use of bridge watch alarm systems on ships.

The purpose of the BNWAS is to increase navigational safety by monitoring the alertness of the Officer of the Watch. The OOW is required to press a button at regular intervals. Not doing so would sound off an alarm and summon the officers and then the Captain. Thus, if the OOW becomes incapacitated, the BNWAS alerts the crew, thereby leading to safer sailing. 

BNWAS IMO Resolution:

As per IMO resolution MSC.128(75) (128/A1), the purpose of a bridge navigational watch alarm system (BNWAS) is to monitor bridge activity and detect operator disability which could lead to marine accidents. The system monitors the awareness of the Officer of the Watch (OOW) and automatically alerts the Master or another qualified OOW if for any reason the OOW becomes incapable of performing the OOW's duties. This purpose is achieved by a series of indications and alarms to alert first the OOW and, if he is not responding, then to alert the Master or another qualified OOW. Additionally, the BNWAS may provide the OOW with a means of calling for immediate assistance, if required. The BNWAS should be operational whenever the ship is underway at sea (SOLAS V/19.2.2.3).

For more information on BNWAS IMO, contact us

To know whether / when your ships need to be fitted with a BNWAS, click here

For details of what SOLAS regulations say about performance, click here 

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