London: More than 4,000 tankers will be voyaging in questionable legal waters in three weeks time.
SOLAS regulations on the mandatory carriage of ECDIS for all tankers of 3,000 gt or more come into force on 1 July 2015. Of the more than 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 electronic nautical charts (ENCs) on ECDIS, according to data from the UK Hyrdographic Office (UKHO).
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%. 83% of LNG tankers are currently using an ENC service, compared to 70% of crude oil tankers and 36% of product tankers.
Thomas Mellor, head of OEM technical support and digital standards, at UKHO, commented: “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.”