1. Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has issued Marine Notice 7 of 2017 (copy attached) highlighting the safe and proper operation of ECDIS for ships visiting Australian ports. It also provides information on AMSA’s expectations for ECDIS compliance during port State control (PSC) inspections.
2. Salient points from the circular are as follows:
a. The IHO has published new editions of the S-52, S-63, and S-64 standards in August 2015. The previous edition of the S-52 standard (Ed 6.0) will remain valid until 31 August 2017. Existing ECDIS systems will require upgrading to the latest IHO standards before 31 August 2017. In some cases ECDIS equipment may require replacement if it cannot be updated to the latest standards.
b. ECDIS may be operated in one of two modes:
i. ECDIS mode when ENCs are used;
Raster Chart Display System (RCDS) mode, when suitable ENCs are not available and RNC are used instead.
All Australian waters are covered by ENCs and therefore ECDIS should not be operated in RCDS mode in these waters
c. AMSA’s PSC Inspectors focus on how ships meet the SOLAS requirements for chart carriage and the safe and effective conduct of navigation tasks. PSC Inspectors may take account of ECDIS-related issues including:
- ECDIS equipment is appropriately recorded in the Record of Equipment – Safety Equipment Certificate.
- Listing of ECDIS as critical equipment in the Safety Management System (SMS).Documented procedures and instructions for the use of ECDIS are included in the SMS and that they are understood by all officers responsible for navigation.
- ECDIS type approval certificate, confirming compliance with relevant IMO performance standard and the International Electro technical Commission (IEC) test standard.
- ECDIS software is maintained to the latest applicable IHO standards, use of latest edition official ENCs, updated and corrected to the latest available updates and notices to mariners.
- Adequate independent back-up arrangements (as detailed on the Record of Equipment), ensuring the vessel can be safely navigated for the remainder of the voyage in the event of an ECDIS failure.
- Approved ECDIS generic training has been undertaken by the master and officers in charge of a navigational watch.
- Master and navigating officers are familiar with the operation of the ECDIS equipment fitted and can demonstrate operational competency.
- Conformance and alignment with input from sensors (e.g. position fixing system, gyro compass and speed and distance measuring device) and presentation of such information on the ECDIS display.
- Evidence of periodic tests and checks of the ECDIS carried out in accordance with the SMS and manufacturer’s requirements.
- ECDIS planning and monitoring settings are appropriate to the ship’s dimensions and area of operations (e.g. cross track limit, safety depth and safety contour).
- Ship Owners / operators and masters are advised to be guided by above and ensure regular maintenance of both ECDIS hardware and software.
- AMSA Marine Notice No.7 of 2017.
This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person.
While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.