Published: 21 December 2021

Our correspondents in Perth, Cocks McNish, have alerted Members to the latest news from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).  AMSA has recently issued a new Marine Notice relating to Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems.  In relation to Port State Control (PSC) inspections, AMSA advises that masters and officers, in charge of a navigational watch, must be able to demonstrate competency and functionality of the ECDIS and, in particular, they must demonstrate critical functions essential for safe navigation including, but not limited to:

  1. Entering safety settings (i.e. safety depths and contours) appropriate to the ship and its intended voyage;
  2. Setting and response to ECDIS alarms, such as those for crossing safety contours, deviation from route, positioning system failure and approach to critical points;
  3. Entering and route checking voyage plans;
  4. Updating electronic navigational charts (ENCs); and
  5. Alternate methods of position fixing.

AMSA further advises that PSC offices may take action when there are clear grounds to believe that the Master or officers in charge of a navigational watch are not familiar with essential shipboard procedures relating to the operation of ECDIS.  They may also take action to ensure that the ship does not leave port until the situation is resolved within the requirements of the relevant Convention.

In addition, for an ENC to be considered adequate for navigational purposes, it must be issued officially by or on the authority of a national hydrographic office; it must be kept up to date using the latest available official Notice to Mariners; and it must also be of an appropriate scale and suitable for the navigational task at hand.