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Ships that need an ECDIS should have a plan by now, says the UKHO

Ships that need an ECDIS should have a plan by now, says the UKHO

All existing passenger ships > 500 gross tonnes and all new cargo ships > 3,000 gross tonnes are required to carry ECDIS from their first survey after 1 July 2014. In 12 months time, on 1 July 2015, this will be further extended to include all existing tankers >3,000 gross tonnes, extending to cargo ships >50,000GT from 1 July 2016.  This will mark a major expansion in the proportion of the merchant fleet that is subject to the mandatory carriage of ECDIS.

The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) continues to support Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and ship owners and operators around the world by ensuring ADMIRALTY Vector Chart Service (AVCS) operates on all makes of ECDIS, providing free guidance via the global ECDIS seminar programme and creating ECDIS specific ADMIRALTY publications.

The scope of coverage offered by AVCS has continued to grow and now includes over 13,000 ENCs covering over 4,000 of the world’s biggest and busiest ports, including many with unique coverage not offered by any other chart service.

Features and benefits offered by the ADMIRALTY Vector Chart Service include:

› The most comprehensive global coverage available

› 100% Official, certification provided

› Operates on all ECDIS makes

› Free unique ADMIRALTY Information Overlay feature

AVCS also meets the IHO’s S-63 Edition 1.1, which is the latest version of the international open-format data standard for digital chart security. 

To achieve SOLAS carriage requirements for the use of ECDIS as a primary means of navigation, the ship’s safety management system must include procedures for the operational use of ECDIS.  Since launching the global ECDIS seminar programme in 2011, the UKHO has provided FREE expert guidance on the ECDIS transition to over 2,300 delegates.  By the end of 2014 that is projected to exceed 3,400 delegates in 55 locations.  The UKHO ECDIS Implementation, Policy and Procedures seminars help professionals involved with the shipping industry, including managers, owners, ship personnel, regulators and auditors, to achieve this important requirement.

The publication of ADMIRALTY Guide to ECDIS Implementation, Policy and Procedures (NP232) supports the global ‘Implementing Your ECDIS Procedures’ seminars. The feedback from seminar delegates over previous years has played a key role in helping the UKHO to ensure that NP232 provides the guidance to ensure informed decision-making by any individual or organisation responsible for ECDIS aboard ship.  Delegates have included serving bridge officers, fleet superintendents, P&I clubs, Flag and Port State Authorities, surveyors and classification societies.

It is also intended to provide an onboard reference to support company procedures developed for the operation of ECDIS, which will assist in preparation for audits and inspections and provide clarification on existing ECDIS policies and procedures.

Jason Scholey, Senior Product Manager at the UKHO, commented: “1 July 2014 is a landmark date in the transition to ECDIS, as it marks the first occasion when a class of existing ships other than high-speed craft will be required to carry ECDIS.  This will be extended from July 2015 to all existing tankers over 3,000 gross tonnes in size.  As a result, owners and operators of over 9,000 tankers have just 12 months to ensure that they are ready to comply with the ECDIS regulations.  Whether it is the physical installation of ECDIS onboard, the delivery of type-specific training for crew or the necessary revisions to bridge policies and procedures, this is a considerable undertaking.”

“Our aim is to help all owners and operators to be ECDIS-ready, to comply with regulations on ECDIS carriage and to make best use of it as a navigational tool that will help them to sail safely and efficiently.   AVCS is the right solution to help them to achieve those goals.  It contains 100% official ENCs, offers the most comprehensive global coverage and it operates on all makes of ECDIS.  At no extra cost, AVCS also comes with the unique ADMIRALTY Information Overlay (AIO), a valuable passage planning tool that shows ADMIRALTY T&P NMs and extra navigationally significant information to aid safer navigation.”

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