KEEPING NAVIGATIONAL CHARTS UP TO DATE

Published: April 1, 2017

The Club’s surveyors have noted in  a number of condition surveys that Temporary & Preliminary (T&P) notices to mariners have not been correctly applied to charts. In some cases the notices have been identified but have not been applied correctly to the charts in use on the passage. In other  cases the T&P notices have not been noted at all. These deficiencies have been found on ships that are using traditional paper charts and also on ships that are using ECDIS as the primary means for navigation the application of T&P notices is a vital part of keeping charts up to date and they must be treated with the same care and attention as permanent notices to mariners

The information contained in all notices to mariners is of great importance to safe navigation and without it mariners could find themselves in peril or in contravention of local laws. If the information is not correctly transferred to the charts, this could result in a ship grounding, or a risk of damage to property, pollution or contravention of local laws. Additionally if there is an incident, the seaworthiness of the ship could be called into question. There may also be other consequences such as detention of the ship, fines for the owners and also personal fines for the master and crew.

An example of where T&P notices are not correctly applied is in a  traffic separation scheme (TSS).  If the TSS has been  altered and therefore a preliminary notice issued to warn mariners of the changes it is intended that these changes are noted on the existing charts pending the release of new editions of the affected charts. If the preliminary correction has not been applied the mariner could easily contravene the new limits of the TSS which could result in heavy penalties as well as the obvious safety risk.

Feedback received from the Club’s condition survey programme and from discussions with mariners attending the Club’s technical seminar programme shows that some seafarers are unsure about how the T&P notices should be applied to Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs). It is important to note that not all ENC producers include T&P notices in their ENCs. The current status of T&P inclusion in ENCs can be found at the following link: https://www.admiralty.co.uk/AdmiraltyDownloadMedia/AVCS/ENC-TandP-NM-Status.pdf

Where T&P corrections are not included in the ENCs they can be applied manually by referring to the notices  to mariners. Additionally  there are services available such as the ‘Admiralty Information Overlay’ service which ensures that T&P information is up to date on electronic charts. Again it is important for all persons concerned with the upkeep of the navigational charts to ensure all relevant notices are applied.

To summarise: Failure to keep charts up to date is in contravention of SOLAS and also puts the ship, the owner and seafarers in danger and can also lead to  action being taken  by port state control officers.  It is important that all notices to mariners are noted, including T&Ps, NavWarnings and local notices.

It is essential that masters and any persons responsible for the upkeep of charts are aware of the procedure for collating the information from notices to mariners and ensuring that all applicable notices are applied to the charts in use.

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