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25 August 2017

UKHO urges AVCS users to check ECDIS compliance ahead of major inspection campaign

​​​Ahead of the IHO's compliance deadline of 31 August 2017, the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) today urged owners and operators to ensure their ECDIS systems are using S-52 Presentation Library Edition 4.0. ​


Vital to navigational safety, the presentation library in S-52 governs how ENC data is portrayed on ECDIS screens and supports consistent display of navigational information across type-approved ECDIS. The UKHO emphasised that the compliance deadline coincides with the launch of a worldwide joint Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on Safety of Navigation by the Maritime Authorities of the Tokyo and the Paris Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control.


During the CIC, 10,000 global inspections are expected to be carried out between 1 September 2017 and 30 November 2017. These inspections could occur in any of the 27 member states of the Paris MoU or the 20 member authorities within the Tokyo MoU spanning Europe, Asia-Pacific and the North Atlantic Basin. This campaign includes a focus on the maintenance and compliance of on board ECDIS systems, meaning that owners risk deficiencies or detention if they fail to comply.


UKHO recommends that ship owners and operators run a series of quick tests using the check datasets within their ECDIS to ensure ENCs contained within the ADMIRALTY Vector Chart Service (AVCS) are displayed using the latest presentation library. If the system is found to be running an old IHO Presentation Library, they should contact their ECDIS man​​​​​​​ufacturer, or an appropriate equipment maintenance company, to obtain software patches and resolve the issues. The IHO has produced guidance that details this process.


Mr Tom Mellor, the Chairman of the IHO ENC Working Group and the UKHO's Head of Original Equip​ment Manufacturer (OEM) Support and Digital Standards said:

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 "Updating ECDIS to the IHO S-52 Presentation Library edition 4.0 is essential to remain compliant with SOLAS Safety of Navigation standards and ensure the consistent display of ENCs within AVCS across type approved ECDIS. An outdated presentation library poses a significant risk to safety on board, to other ships and to the marine environment, as well as to a company's reputation and bottom line. With more inspections by Port State Authorities under the Paris and Tokyo MoUs, owners could face detention until the deficiency has been rectified.  It is much easier, safer and smarter to take action now and make a few short checks to be sure.

However, we shouldn't just see the potential pitfalls of non-compliance. The new Presentation Library will be a huge benefit to bridge crews, making the display of ENCs more consistent and tackling the serious issue of alarm fatigue."

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The UKHO has also produced an 'ADMIRALTY Guide to Audits and Inspections', which is designed to help crews prepare for all aspects of an ECDIS audit and includes a checklist with explanatory notes identifying key ECDIS-related areas that could be examined during on board inspections. It can be downloaded for free from the ADMIRALTY website here.​