Commercial Vessel Compliance

8/25/2017: Electronic chart display information systems updates

The Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance issued Marine Safety Information Bulletin 009/17: Electronic Chart Display Information Systems Updates to Meet International Hydrographic Organization Standards.

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, (2014 consolidated edition) Chapter V, Regulation 19.2.10 lists which ships engaged on international voyages shall be fitted with an electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS). Per 74 SOLAS (2014 consolidated edition) Chapter V, Regulation 27, all nautical charts necessary for the intended voyage shall be adequate and up to date. Additionally, Chapter V, Regulation 16.1 requires that adequate arrangements are in place to ensure the performance of a fitted ECDIS is maintained.

The Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the Tokyo MoU have agreed to begin a safety of navigation concentrated inspection campaign on Sept. 1, 2017, following the guidance as listed in MSC.1/Circ.1503/Rev.1: ECDIS – Guidance for Good Practice. This guidance explains that where an ECDIS is being used to meet the chart carriage requirements of SOLAS, it should also be maintained so as to be compatible with the latest applicable International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) standards.

U.S. vessel owners/operators are encouraged to follow this guidance. U.S. vessel owners/operators that anticipate their vessel(s) will not meet the recommended ECDIS IHO standards by Aug. 31, 2017 may wish to take the following steps when engaging on international voyages:

1. Obtain and retain written confirmation which includes the intended service date to meet IHO standards from the respective ECDIS manufacturer and/or servicing company.
2. Obtain and retain up-to-date nautical paper charts.
3. If paper nautical charts are used, ensure navigation officers are fully competent in their use.
4. Ensure ample advance notice of the situation is given to the Country’s Port State Control being visited.

If 74 SOLAS (2014 consolidated edition) Chapter V, Regulation 19.2.10 or Regulation 27 are believed to be unreasonable or unnecessary, a formal request under 74 SOLAS (2014 consolidated edition) Chapter V, Regulation 3.2, may be submitted to U.S. Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance, Commandant (CG-CVC) through the local Officer In-Charge, Marine Inspection (OCMI) for consideration. Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.
For foreign flag vessels arriving into U.S. ports, vessel owners/operators must ensure they are in compliance with the aforementioned SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 19.2.10 and Regulation 27. It is also recommended that they are familiar with the guidance found in MSC.1/Circ.1503/Rev.1 – ECDIS Guidance for Good Practice. U.S. Coast Guard Port State Control Officers may verify compliance with SOLAS Chapter V: Safety of navigation, including functionality and operational requirements to ensure the vessel is navigating safely. If there are any disparities with ECDIS equipment/software, the vessel’s master is encouraged to present the port state control officer with proper documentation from the respective flag Administration, equipment manufacturer and/or technical servicing company.

To review MSC.1/Circ.1503/Rev.1 – ECDIS Guidance for Good Practice, visit IMO’s website and request a user account.

Questions concerning this bulletin may be directed to the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance, Commandant (202) 372-1220 or

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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