ECDIS update advice from USCG
By the end of this week all ships fitted with mandatory ECDIS must ensure that the systems are able to meet the new IHO standards. Both the Paris and Tokyo MoU have announced that they will be commencing concentrated inspection campaigns as from 1 September to ensure ships meet all navigational standards. This will include checking on ECDIS updating to the new standards. It is known that many ships have failed to meet the target date for updating and there are attempts underway to extend the deadline. It is uncertain if any or all flag and port states will accede to these requests. The USCG has issued advice to owners and operators of US-flagged ships advising that if it is anticipated that their vessels will not meet the new requirements that they take the following steps when engaging on international voyages: 1. Obtain and retain written confirmation which includes the intended service date to meet IHO standards from the respective ECDIS manufacturer and/or servicing company. 2. Obtain and retain up-to-date nautical paper charts. 3. If paper nautical charts are used, ensure navigation officers are fully competent in their use. 4. Ensure ample advance notice of the situation is given to the Country’s Port State Control being visited. If 74 SOLAS (2014 consolidated edition) Chapter V, Regulation 19.2.10 or Regulation 27 are believed to be unreasonable or unnecessary, a formal request under 74 SOLAS (2014 consolidated edition) Chapter V, Regulation 3.2, may be submitted to U.S. Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance, Commandant (CG-CVC) through the local Officer In-Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) for consideration. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis. Some advice has also been issued for vessels coming to the US. For foreign flag vessels arriving into U.S. ports, vessel owners/operators must ensure they are in compliance with the aforementioned SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 19.2.10 and Regulation 27. It is also recommended that they are familiar with the guidance found in MSC.1/Circ.1503/Rev.1 – ECDIS Guidance for Good Practice. USCG Port State Control Officers may verify compliance with SOLAS Chapter V: Safety of navigation, including functionality and operational requirements to ensure the vessel is navigating safely. If there are any disparities with ECDIS equipment/software, the vessel’s master is encouraged to present the port state control officer with proper documentation from the respective flag Administration, equipment manufacturer and/or technical servicing company. The advice steps mentioned above may be a prudent measure to take for any vessel calling a foreign port given the uncertainty around the current situation.