UKHO warns of dangers posed by counterfeit ADMIRALTY products

IT and Communications, Marine Equipment Products and Services, Maritime Fraud, Technical, Technology — By on April 1, 2016 at 2:07 PM
Publications published since October 2014 include a grey graphic showing the UKHO crest across random pages. If photocopied, the words ‘ILLEGAL COPY’ will be visible.

Publications published since October 2014 include a grey graphic showing the UKHO crest across random pages. If photocopied, the words ‘ILLEGAL COPY’ will be visible.

April 1, 2016 – The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has observed an increase in the number of counterfeit versions of ADMIRALTY charts and publications in circulation and is re-issuing a warning over the dangers they pose to the safety of vessels, crew and cargo. 

These counterfeit items have not been assessed by UKHO experts, who cross check and quality assure ADMIRALTY Maritime Products & Services to ensure mariners receive up-to-date and accurate information. Information contained within counterfeit products has also not been issued officially by or on the authority of a Government, authorised Hydrographic Office or other relevant Government institution and does not satisfy the carriage requirements of the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). For these reasons, counterfeit charts and publications can significantly increase safety risks posed to vessels, crew and cargo when used for navigation.

The carriage of counterfeit charts and publications may also fail to satisfy (and may be contrary to) the laws of Flag State Authorities and Port State Control. Furthermore, carriage of counterfeit documents is against the law in all countries that have signed the Berne Convention, which includes the vast majority of countries. In those countries the authorities have the power to seize counterfeit documents.

To support mariners and reduce risks posed by counterfeit ADMIRALTY products, the UKHO has taken a number of preventative measures. These measures, including a new watermark on paper charts, have been outlined in the ‘Guide to Identifying Counterfeit ADMIRALTY Products’. Recently updated, the guide contains visual examples and explanations to help users and inspectors to distinguish official ADMIRALTY charts and publications from counterfeit versions. The full document can be downloaded for free from the following location: 

We’d also like to encourage anyone with suspicions over the authenticity of their ADMIRALTY charts and publications to contact the UKHO by

Damian Bowler, Chief Commercial Officer, UKHO, said:

“The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office has recently observed an increase in the number of counterfeit ADMIRALTY charts and publications. While some of the counterfeits are very easy to spot, others are more difficult to detect.

“The UKHO continues to urge all purchasers, users, inspectors and regulators to look out for counterfeit ADMIRALTY charts and publications. Counterfeit versions have not been through the same rigorous checking procedures as official ADMIRALTY charts and publications and cannot be trusted for voyage planning or navigational purposes. They are unsafe, unofficial, non-compliant with SOLAS and illegal to carry or sell. Buyers also carry the considerable risk of failing port state inspections.

“We are continuing to seek and stop the production and sale of counterfeit copies of ADMIRALTY products and have raised our concerns with the International Maritime Organisation, the International Hydrographic Organisation and Flag States. We also encourage anyone that suspects they may be in possession of counterfeit products to get in touch with us.”

About the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office 

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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