Guidance on ECDIS for ship operators and navigating officers

P and I Clubs — By on April 18, 2012 at 6:19 PM

We would like to advise Members that on 1st January 2011, the amendments to SOLAS as adopted by IMO Resolution MSC.282 (86) entered into force. This details a number of changes to SOLAS Chapter V ‘Safety of Navigation’ including the revision of Regulation 19 to include Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).

For existing vessels engaged on international voyages, ECDIS must be fitted as per the time schedule as follows.

  1. Passenger ships of 500 GT and upwards constructed before 1st July 2012, not later than the first survey on or after 1st July 2014
  2. Tankers of 3, 000 GT and upwards constructed before 1st July 2012, not later than the first survey on or after 1st July 2015
  3. Cargo ships, other than tankers, of 10, 000 GT and upwards but less than 20, 000 GT constructed before 1st July 2013, not later than the first survey on or after 1st July 2018.

It should be noted that Flag State Administrations may exempt a vessel from complying with the above requirement if it is to be taken out of service permanently within two years of the applicable implementation date.

As per SOLAS Chapter V, Regulations 18 and 19, for a ship to rely on ECDIS for navigation, the equipment must:

a. have an official document of type approval

b. be maintained to the latest applicable International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) standards

c. use official Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC), or, where ENC data has not been published, Raster Navigation Chart (RNC). The ENCs and RNCs must be issued by, or on the authority of, a government hydrographic office or other relevant government institution. They must be of the latest available edition and be kept up to date using the latest available notices to mariners,

d. have an adequate, independent back-up arrangement which could be either an additional fully compliant ECDIS unit, or adequate and up to date paper charts.

ECDIS training requirements

The Manila Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978 (STCW) and STCW Code entered into force on 1st January 2012 where, from 1st July 2013, training on ECDIS is mandatory for all officers serving on board ECDIS fitted ships. All officers in charge of a navigational watch, both at the management and operational level, are required to undertake ECDIS training, as described below.

  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 conducted by an approved training centre
  2. Ship’s familiarisation training in accordance with the ISM Code, the company should establish procedures to ensure that personnel are given proper familiarisation with their duties and equipment. ECDIS familiarisation training in the safe and effective use of the shipboard ECDIS equipment should be clearly documented.

Although the implementation deadlines for existing ships are a couple of years away, we recommend that Members plan their implementation well in advance for timely compliance.

For the full marine notice please refer to the link below. Source of information:


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