SOLAS regulations on the mandatory carriage of ECDIS for all tankers of 3,000 gross tonnes or more come into force on 1 July 2015. Of the 8,750+ tankers in the global fleet that are required to comply with these regulations by their first survey following this date, 54% are now using ENCs (Electronic Nautical Charts) on ECDIS.
Progress has been made in recent months, with the global ‘ECDIS readiness’ figure having risen from 42% in September 2014 to the current figure of 54%. However over 4,000 tankers representing the remaining 46% of the global tanker fleet are not yet using an ENC service.
The UKHO data also reveals a number of interesting disparities in the adoption of ECDIS between different elements of the global tanker fleet. 83% of LNG tankers are currently using an ENC service, compared to 70% of crude oil tankers and 36% of product tankers. All three categories have shown a substantial improvement in ECDIS readiness since September 2014.
Mr Thomas Mellor, Head of OEM Technical Support and Digital Standards, UKHO, commented:
“The international tanker community has made significant progress towards ensuring that it is ready for the SOLAS regulations on ECDIS carriage that come into force in July. However, we also recognise that a large proportion of the fleet, comprising over 4,000 tankers, is not yet using an ENC service and therefore not yet ready to comply with the mandatory carriage of ECDIS. Even allowing for exemptions and the grace period until their first survey after 1 July 2015, which could be up to 12 months later, this is a considerable undertaking and the ECDIS supply chain can expect to come under considerable pressure in the coming months.”
“Tanker owners and operators that have not yet planned for the adoption of ECDIS should address this immediately in order to make the transition in a safe, timely manner and avoid the risks of non-compliance. From an operational, commercial and reputational perspective, the consequences of failing to comply with the ECDIS regulations – and therefore the SOLAS Convention – can be severe.”
“The UKHO will continue to support the industry, as it adopts digital navigation, through the free ‘Living with ECDIS’ global seminar programme and ECDIS-specific ADMIRALTY Publications. Further information on both is available from any ADMIRALTY Chart Agent.”