The IMO sub-committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) has extended the transition period for software updates to existing ECDIS for one year to 31 Aug 2017.
The NCSR accepted the IHO’s proposal to give all ship owners using ECDIS more time to be able to obtain the correct software updates to the new IHO -52 presentation library and thus ensure compliance with the guidelines on Maintenance of ECDIS software contained in IMO MSC 1.circ 1503.
The latest IHO Presentation Library (version 4.0) addresses the number one complaint levelled at ECDIS; constant audible alarms. By providing clear guidance to ECDIS manufacturers on ENC objects that will raise an alarm, the IHO has tackled the issue of alarm fatigue on the bridge. Also, information such as fairway and anchorage area names now appear on screen, with landmarks, lights and buoys viewable via a ‘hover-over’ function. Both initiatives reduce the time-consuming need to find information buried in a pick report.
In practice this extension means the current IHO Presentation Library edition 3.4 in use on serving ECDIS will remain valid until 31st Aug 2017. From 1st September all vessels will be expected to have upgraded their ECDIS software to the IHO Presentation Library edition 4.0 in order to remain compliant.
Tom Mellor is the Chairman of the IHO’s ENC Working Group and also the UKHO Head of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Support & Digital Standards.
“By extending the time available for shipping companies to upgrade their ECDIS software to the new IHO Presentation Library edition 4.0 we have been able to alleviate the imminent pressure on the ship owner and the overall supply chain.
“Ship owners are encouraged to contact their ECDIS manufacturer to start the transition to the updated ECDIS Standards, in order to ensure a smooth switchover and to take advantage of the benefits that the new editions will bring to the bridge.
“Whilst there is more time available, the upgrade requirements will vary between different ECDIS makes and models, so it is important that owners work together with their ECDIS manufacturers to identify the steps that need to be taken for all ECDIS systems across their fleet.”
The UKHO will continue to offer guidance for ship owners, operators and managers through its global ‘Living with ECDIS’ seminars. Further details and online booking for these free events can be found at bit.ly/ECDISSeminars.
About the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
- UKHO produces a worldwide series of some 3, 500 paper nautical charts, 200 publications under the ADMIRALTY Maritime Products & Services brand and Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs). The ADMIRALTY Maritime Products & Services portfolio is sold globally and used by over 90% of the ships trading internationally.
- UKHO, an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Defence, has been charting the world’s oceans for more than 200 years with the primary aim of providing navigational products and services for the Royal Navy and merchant mariners to save and protect lives at sea. In addition it serves small craft and leisure mariners and provides a range of consultancy services.
- UKHO also plays a central role, in support of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, in discharging the navigation element of the UK’s Safety of Life at Sea Treaty obligations for waters of UK national responsibility.