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Loss Prevention 25 Oct, 2022

UKHO Intend to Cease Paper Chart Production by 2026

James Oliver
James Oliver
Loss Prevention Officer

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has announced its intention to withdraw paper chart production and solely focus on digital products. The UKHO has advised that they will phase out the withdrawal of paper charts from production over several years and conclude at the end of 2026.

There is no detailed timeline for the phasing-out process at this stage, although it will commence this year, starting with charts where the demand is low and there is high maintenance cost associated with maintaining supply. In addition, they have announced they will offer digital alternatives for marine sectors still using paper charts.

The UKHO will remove Admiralty Standard Nautical Charts (SNCs) and Thematic Charts (specialist charts which supplement the standard nautical charts) from production due to most vessels primarily using digital products and services for their display; such as vessels fitted with Electronic Chart Display Systems (ECDIS).

Most vessels have adopted a digital platform due to the ease and speed of accessing and updating Electronic Navigation Charts (ENCs). In addition, ENCs allow for the overlay of automatic radar plotting aid (ARPA) and Automatic Identification System (AIS).

Electronic Chart Display Systems (ECIDS) can significantly improve the safety of navigation if used correctly. For example, corrections and updates are instant and done via digital versatile disc (DVD) or the ship’s internet.

Members that still have vessels relying solely on paper charts for navigation should start preparing their vessels to transfer to digital-based navigation via the installation of a primary and secondary (back-up) ECDIS.

The implementation of ECDIS installation onboard vessels must be type-approved, with a certificate of compliance issued by the vessel’s Classification Society, Port State Control (PSC) and vetting administration. Such requirements ensure full compliance with carriage of ECDIS - SOLAS regulation V/19 - Carriage requirements for shipborne navigational systems and equipment.

Furthermore, all deck officers operating shipboard ECDIS must have Generic ECDIS training (as per chapter II of the STCW Convention) with the provision of familiarization or type-specific training (as per I/14, paragraph 1.5 of the STCW Convention and sections 6.3 and 6.5 of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code).

The UKHO announcement can be found here.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.