AMSA Updated Guidance on ECDIS for Ships Calling at Australian Ports

AMSA Updated Guidance on ECDIS for Ships Calling at Australian Ports

Guidance on ECDIS for ships calling at Australian ports

This notice aims to clarify some of the emerging
issues relating to the carriage requirements for
Electronic Chart Display and Information System
(ECDIS) and to provide guidance for ECDIS-fitted
ships calling at Australian ports.
As the mandatory carriage of ECDIS will be phased in
from 1 July 2012 onwards1, ship operators, masters
and navigating officers of ECDIS-fitted ships are
encouraged to take this guidance into account.
Two flow charts that address ECDIS-related issues
and which will be used by AMSA’s Port State Control
(PSC) inspectors, are attached.
1. Safety Certificates under SOLAS
Details of a ship’s navigational systems and
equipment are recorded in the “Record of Equipment”
attached to the relevant safety certificate under
SOLAS, including:
• Passenger Ship Safety Certificate - Form P
• Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate - Form E
• Cargo Ship Safety Certificate - Form C
The means of complying with SOLAS Chapter V
Regulation 19 needs to be indicated (i.e. paper
charts and/or ECDIS) in the relevant form containing
the ship’s “Record of Equipment”. If a ship uses
ECDIS for navigation, the “Record of Equipment”
must clearly state the back-up arrangement in place.
Additionally, if a ship requires flexibility in using either
paper charts or ECDIS as the means of navigation,
such an arrangement must be clearly indicated in the
ship’s “Record of Equipment”. In such cases, both
paper charts and ECDIS must comply with SOLAS
Marine Notice 11/2012
Supersedes 15/2010 and 7/2012
2. Determining the means of navigation
In determining the means of navigation being
used, apart from considering the relevant form
containing the ship’s “Record of Equipment”,
AMSA’s PSC inspectors will look for evidence
of planning and presentation of the ship’s route
for the completed (or intended) voyage and of
plotting and monitoring of the ship’s positions
throughout the voyage. This information may
be cross-checked by the PSC inspectors against
entries made in the ship’s official documents such
as the deck log book and manoeuvring book.
3. Compliant ECDIS
As per SOLAS Chapter V Regulations 18 and
19, for a ship to rely on ECDIS for navigation, the
ECDIS equipment must conform to the relevant
IMO Performance Standards. ECDIS units on
board are required to comply with one of two
performance standards (either IMO Resolution
A.817(19) or MSC.232(82)), depending on the
date of their installations.
Where ECDIS is being used for navigation, it
i) be type-approved;
ii) be maintained to the latest applicable
International Hydrographic Organization
(IHO) standards;
iii) use official and up to date electronic charts;
iv) have an adequate, independent back-up
1Depending on ship type, size and construction date, as required by SOLAS regulation V/19.2.10

3.1 Type approval of ECDIS
In accordance with SOLAS Regulation V/18,
ECDIS units on board ships must be typeapproved.
Type approval is the certification
process that ECDIS equipment must undergo
before it can be considered as complying with
the IMO Performance Standards. The process
is carried out by type approval organisations and
marine Classification Societies. For Australian
ships, AMSA has delegated type approval and
certification of marine equipment to several
Classification Societies as listed on the AMSA
website at:
3.2 Maintenance of ECDIS software
An ECDIS that is not updated to the latest version
of IHO standards may not meet the chart carriage
requirement as set out in SOLAS Regulation
V/ IMO has issued SN.1/Circ.266/Rev.1
on the need to maintain ECDIS software. The
following link provides a list of the latest IHO
standards that apply to ECDIS equipment:
3.2.1 ECDIS Data Presentation and Performance
Check dataset
IHO has produced an ECDIS Data Presentation
and Performance Check dataset that allows
mariners to check some important aspects of the
operation of their ECDIS. This dataset contains
two fictitious ENC cells which navigating officers
can load into their ECDIS units to assess operating
performance and to determine whether there may
be any display anomalies that either need to be
remedied or otherwise managed in the way that
the ECDIS is operated. If the check highlights a
problem, the accompanying guidance notes with
the check dataset offer suggested courses of action.
The check dataset and accompanying instructions
can be downloaded from the IHO website at:
3.3 Carriage of official electronic charts
Charts that are issued by or on the authority of a
Government, authorised Hydrographic Office or
other relevant government institutions are official
and only these should be used to fulfil the SOLAS
chart carriage requirement. There are two kinds
of official electronic charts available: Electronic
Navigational Chart (ENC) and Raster Navigational
Chart (RNC).
Ships using ECDIS for navigation must carry ENC
(which are official vector charts) or, where ENCs
of an appropriate usage code (i.e. scale) for the
ship’s operations have not been published, RNC
(which are scanned, geo-referenced images of
official paper charts). Both ENCs and RNCs must
be of the latest available edition and be kept up to
date using both the electronic chart updates (e.g.
ENC updates) and the latest available notices to
3.4 Back-up arrangements for ECDIS
Appendix 6 to the IMO ECDIS Performance
Standards specifies the requirements for adequate,
independent back-up arrangements. The main
requirements are the ability to make a timely
transfer to the back-up system during critical
navigation situations and allow the ship to be
navigated safely until the termination of the voyage.
For Australian flagged ships, AMSA considers the
following will meet the back-up requirements for
i) an independent, fully compliant second ECDIS
unit, connected to ship’s main and emergency
power supplies and connected to systems
providing continuous position fixing capability;
ii) a folio of adequate and up to date paper
charts (including relevant large scale charts)
necessary for the intended voyage.
The back-up ECDIS must be loaded with relevant
official charts and the voyage plan before
commencement of the voyage. Similarly, if paper
Internet address for all current Marine Notices: Page 3 of 5
charts are being used as the back-up, they must
be readily available and the voyage plan must be
indicated on them. The back-up arrangement must
be ready for immediate use, particularly when in
confined waters.
Non-Australian flagged ships should comply with
SOLAS and their flag State requirements.
4. Mode of ECDIS operation
A type-approved ECDIS, when using current
editions of ENC with the latest updates and
corrections available, operates in ECDIS mode.
An alternative mode, known as Raster Chart
Display System (RCDS) mode, can only be used
if there are no suitable ENCs available for the area
being navigated. In recent years, ENC coverage
has increased rapidly. However, there may still
be some areas, such as polar regions, for which
suitably detailed ENCs have not been issued.
In Australia’s case, ENCs exist for all well-used
coastal shipping routes and for all major ports.
Hence, unless a ship will be operating in or
transiting through an area for which there are
no suitable ENCs, ECDIS should not need to be
operated in RCDS mode in Australian waters. IMO
SN.1/Circ.207/Rev.1 addresses the differences
between ECDIS and RCDS.
4.1. Charts to be used in areas not adequately
covered by ENCs
ENC coverage of the world’s busiest ports and
their connecting shipping routes, is substantially
complete. Away from major shipping routes,
ENCs may be limited to small scale coverage. In
circumstances where greater detail is required, it
may be necessary to use RNCs. When planning
a passage in more remote areas, mariners should
i) any caution embedded in an ENC, advising of
the need to refer to larger scale charts for some
areas, and
ii) any areas within an ENC showing no data within
that scale band (usage code).
Where any significant area needs to be navigated
using ECDIS in RCDS mode, mariners should
critically consider the ability of their ECDIS to
provide an adequate ‘look-ahead’ capability.
5. ECDIS training requirements
Under the provisions of Standards of Training,
Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers
(STCW) Convention, there has been a longstanding
requirement for all officers who carry
out navigational tasks to be appropriately trained.
All officers in charge of a navigational watch on
ships of 500 gross tonnage or more must have a
thorough knowledge of and ability to use nautical
charts and nautical publications (ref STCW Code
Table A-II/1). The definition of a nautical chart
as provided in SOLAS Chapter V Regulation
2 includes a special-purpose map or book, or
“a specially compiled database”. This clearly
includes ENCs and RNCs, and hence includes
the use of ECDIS. In respect of seafarers who
commenced an approved education and training
programme before 1 July 2013, there remains a
clear requirement that approved ECDIS training
(as outlined below below) be undertaken by all
masters and officers in charge of a navigational
watch on ECDIS-fitted ships.
5.1 Generic ECDIS training
All masters and officers in charge of a navigational
watch should, as a minimum, complete generic
ECDIS training that follows IMO Model Course 1.27
and conforms to the relevant STCW requirements.
5.2 Familiarisation training
All masters and officers certificated under Chapter
II of the STCW Convention are to be familiar in
accordance with STCW Convention Regulation
I/14 with the ECDIS units fitted on board their
ships. The requirement for familiarisation is further
recognised under the provisions of sections 6.3
and 6.5 of the ISM Code. Resources supplied
by the ECDIS manufacturers (such as in the form
of a CD or DVD) may form part of the ECDIS
familiarisation training. ‘Trickle-down training’
(i.e. one officer training another) is not acceptable
without a structured and formalised process being
in place to facilitate such training.
If the generic training includes the particular type
(i.e. same make and model) of ECDIS equipment
installed on board, such training may fulfil the
requirement for both generic and familiarisation
training. In such cases, a clear statement to this
effect should be included in the ECDIS training
Internet address for all
documentation. Masters of ECDIS fitted ships
should ensure that all officers in charge of a
navigational watch are competent in the safe and
effective use of the ship’s ECDIS.
The 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW
Convention and Code have introduced several
additional specific competencies in the use of
ECDIS for masters and officers in charge of a
navigational watch serving on ECDIS-fitted ships.
Training requirements in accordance with the 2010
Manila Amendments become effective on 1 July
6. ECDIS anomalies
An ECDIS anomaly is an unexpected or unintended
behaviour of an ECDIS unit which may affect the
use of the equipment or navigational decisions
made by the user. Examples include, but are not
limited to:
• failure to display a navigational feature correctly
• failure to alarm correctly
• failure to manage a number of alarms correctly
The IHO ECDIS check dataset (as mentioned in
paragraph 3.2.1) provides a test facility for the
presence of the more serious known anomalies,
such as:
• the display of navigation areas recently
recognised by IMO such as ESSA
(Environmentally Sensitive Sea Area), PSSA
(Particularly Sensitive Sea Area) and ASL
(Archipelagic Sea Lanes)
• the display of lights with complex characteristics
• the display of underwater features and isolated
• detection of objects by “route checking” in
voyage planning mode
7. Port State Control inspections
AMSA’s PSC inspectors are increasingly focussing
on the means by which ships meet their SOLAS
chart carriage requirements and the effectiveness
with which the navigational task is being conducted.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of ECDISrelated
issues which AMSA’s PSC inspectors pay
close attention to:
• appropriate declaration in the ship’s “Record of
Equipment” form
• ECDIS type approval certificate, confirming that
the ship’s ECDIS complies with the relevant
IMO performance standards and the IEC
(International Electrotechnical Commission)
test standards
• maintenance of the ECDIS software to the latest
applicable IHO standards
• use of latest edition official electronic charts,
updated and corrected to the latest available
updates and notices to mariners
• adequate independent back-up arrangements
(as detailed on “Record of Equipment”),
ensuring safe navigation for the remainder of
the voyage in the event of an ECDIS failure
• approved ECDIS generic and familiarisation
training undertaken by the master and officers
in charge of a navigational watch
• documented procedures for using ECDIS
• listing of ECDIS as critical equipment in the
ship’s Safety Management System
• conformance and alignment with input from
sensors (e.g. heading, speed, rate of turn etc)
and presentation of such information on the
ECDIS display
• evidence of periodic tests and checks of the
ECDIS equipment that need to be carried out in
accordance with the ship’s Safety Management
• demonstration of operational competency
by the ship’s navigating officers (e.g. safety
checking of a voyage plan)
8. ECDIS flow charts
The attached flow charts outline ECDIS
implementation and operational issues. These
charts will assist AMSA’s PSC inspectors when
assessing the carriage requirement and use of

ECDIS on board. The assessment of any ECDIS
related deficiencies (along with any remedial
action determined) may vary, depending on
the circumstances of each case, including any
measures taken to limit risk and maximise safety.
AMSA has developed answers to a set of
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on ECDIS. It
provides further information on regulatory, charting,
software and training related issues. The ECDIS
FAQs can be accessed from AMSA’s website at:
Further enquiries regarding this marine notice can
be addressed to:
Ship Inspections and Registration
Maritime Operations Division
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
GPO Box 2181
Mick Kinley
A/g Chief Executive Officer
27 June 2012
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
GPO Box 2181
File No: 2012/1387
Action code 30
ECDIS listed
in the ship’s
Record of Equipment Form
(Without any valid reasons)
Action code 30
(depending on
Action code 30
or 17
Is ECDIS being used for
Is the ECDIS type-approved?
Is the ECDIS using appropriate
official electronic charts with
latest updates and corrections
as applicable? Action code 30
Does the ECDIS have adequate
and up-to-date paper charts as
back-up arrangement?
Are the officers in charge of
navigational watch
appropriately trained and
competent to use ECDIS?
In case of an IMO compliant electronic
back-up, does it comply with the power
supply requirement and continuous position
fixing capability?
Are there appropriate
procedures documented in the
ship’s Safety Management
System (SMS) for the effective
operation of ECDIS?
Action code 30
Action code 18
or 30
Action code 18
No (See note above)
No (See note below)
No action required
Has the ECDIS been
maintained to the latest
applicable IHO standards and
as may be required by its type
Is the ECDIS operating
Have appropriate authorities
(flag State, port State and
Recognised Organisations) been
notified, repairs requested and is
the back-up ECDIS in use?
(Actions depend on the seriousness of any resulting
limitations on effective operation)
Notes: 1. All masters and officers in charge of a navigational watch
should undertake generic ECDIS training.
2. All masters and officers in charge of a navigational watch should
undertake ECDIS familiarisation training that includes training on the
type of ECDIS units installed on board.
Action code 30
or 17
Action code 17: Rectify deficiency before departure
Action code 18: Rectify deficiency within three months
Action code 30: Detainable deficiency
Notes: ENCs (and any RNCs) with latest updates and corrections are to be
used in ECDIS for navigation. Use of the following is unacceptable (Code
1. Unofficial or private charts
2. Raster charts in an area with full and adequate ENC coverage
ECDIS NOT listed
in the ship’s
Record of Equipment Form
Action code 30
Action code 30
Are paper charts* being used for
Is there sufficient evidence of passage
planning done on paper charts* ?
Are all the paper charts* required for
the voyage on board?
Action code 30 or
NO action required
Action code 17: Rectify deficiency before departure
Action code 30: Detainable deficiency
Are all the required paper charts* of
the latest edition, corrected to the
latest notices to mariner available and
in use?
Action code 30 or
*Paper charts:
Photocopied / scanned copies of official paper charts
(whether subsequently corrected to latest notices to
mariner or not) are NOT regarded as satisfying the SOLAS
chart carriage requirement.

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