Designing for Safe Maritime Navigation. Studying Control Processes for Bridge Teams
Licentiatavhandling, 2018

Several technological advances have been seen the maritime domain to achieve higher operational efficiency and to address the generally recognised causes of most maritime accidents. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) endorses the use of best available technology to “drive continuous improvement and innovation in the facilitation of maritime traffic” in line with the goal of sustainable development. It is commonly acknowledged that modern technology revolutionized marine navigation, and presently it has a large potential to increase safety in navigation. However, the incorporation of new technologies in support of navigation also brought unforeseen critical consequences, contributing to unsafe practices, or even to accidents or incidents. Several issues were associated with human factors. To properly address the adoption of the newest technology in support of safe navigation, IMO established the e-navigation concept, currently under implementation.

The complexity of the maritime socio-technical system requires novel theoretical foundations, since many of the present framework rely on the analysis of accidents. The design of complex maritime navigation system must take place on several levels, providing different perspectives over the system problems. The evaluation and design of technologies envisaged by the e-navigation concept requires a better understand of how teams perform the navigation work in the pursuit of safe navigation. This study attempts to provide a better understanding on how maritime navigation is currently done on-board, considering the overarching elements and their interactions. In maritime navigation safety is a transverse issue, and that is why we need to know the conditions for safe navigation to improve the design of ship navigation control.

The work supporting this thesis was focused on: (i) understanding how navigation is done and to perceive by the practitioners, (ii) understanding interactions between humans and technological interfaces, and (iii) understanding the relevant soft skills for the navigation functions. To address these topics, data was collected from expert practitioners such as navigators, pilots and instructors, thru semi structured interviews and questionnaires. The mains contribution of this study lies in presenting a framework of maritime navigation, exploring the control processes in the different levels of the maritime socio-technical system. In the view of safe operations, interactions between stakeholders are clarified, trying to determine how they influence safe navigation. This systemic view is then analysed from the perspective of the ship, considering it as a Joint-cognitive system (JCS). It is proposed that this JCS comprises 5 control levels: reactive, proactive, planning, strategic and political-economical. Planning is considered a fundamental process in the maritime Socio-technical system, because it facilitates the interactions between the different control level. It also increases the integrity of communications and enhances the predictability of the different control agents. New directions are proposed to improve the design of navigation system, recommending new roles for human and automated agents, and presenting a new conceptual navigation display.


Socio-technical Systems

navigation control

joint cognitive systems


human factors


Auditorium Omega, Jupiter Hörselgången 5, Chalmers
Opponent: Prof. Anthony John Smoker, Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Lund University


Victor Fernando Placido da Conceicao

Chalmers, Mekanik och maritima vetenskaper, Maritima studier



Människa-datorinteraktion (interaktionsdesign)

Systemvetenskap, informationssystem och informatik med samhällsvetenskaplig inriktning



Auditorium Omega, Jupiter Hörselgången 5, Chalmers

Opponent: Prof. Anthony John Smoker, Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Lund University

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