Updating the ECDIS dissertation .pdf

File information


Original filename: Updating the ECDIS - dissertation.pdf
Title: Microsoft Word - Lucian Indries ECDIS dissertation.docx

This PDF 1.4 document has been generated by Word / Mac OS X 10.12 Quartz PDFContext, and has been sent on pdf-archive.com on 30/09/2016 at 05:57, from IP address 193.161.x.x. The current document download page has been viewed 824 times.
File size: 721 KB (44 pages).
Privacy: public file


Download original PDF file


Updating the ECDIS - dissertation.pdf (PDF, 721 KB)


Share on social networks



Link to this file download page



Document preview


Updating the Electronic Chart
Display and Information System
(ECDIS) data rendering software
— A mandatory requirement under the lex lata? —

Candidate number: 8008
Supervisor: Professor Erik Røsæg
Submission deadline: 1 November 2016
Number of words: 16.900 (max. 18.000)

1

Table of contents
Table of Abbreviations ................................................................................................................. 4
Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 5
1.

Thesis statement ..............................................................................................................................5

2.

The Electronic Chart Display and Information System..............................................................5

3.

The legal dispute .............................................................................................................................7

Chapter 1 – Lex Lata..................................................................................................................... 9
1.1

What is governed by SOLAS Chapter V regarding ECDIS? ................................................9

1.2

What is governed by the STCW Code regarding ECDIS? ...................................................12

1.3

The ECDIS Performance Standards adopted by the IMO ...................................................13

1.3.1

Implementation and enforcement of the various IMO instruments .......................................13

a)

Conventions .........................................................................................................................................14

b)

Resolutions ...........................................................................................................................................14

c)

Guidelines and Recommendations ....................................................................................................15

1.3.2

Resolution A.817(19) Performance Standards for ECDIS, as amended by Resolution

MSC.232(82) – Revised Performance Standards for ECDIS .............................................................15
1.3.3
1.4

The role of the IHO in developing ECDIS technical standards .............................................16
The 59th session of the IMO sub-committee on Safety of Navigation (NAV 59) .................17

1.4.1

NAV 59/13 – Proposal for a clarification of SOLAS V/27 ...................................................18

1.4.2

NAV 59/13/1 – Comments on the proposal to clarify SOLAS V/27.....................................18

1.4.3

Failure of the proposal to clarify SOLAS V/27 by means of an explanatory footnote..........19

1.4.4

NAV 59/11 – consolidation of ECDIS-related IMO circulars ...............................................19

1.5

MSC.1/Circ.1503 ECDIS – Guidance for Good Practice .....................................................20

1.5.1

Appendix 1 of MSC.1/Circ.1503: List of ECDIS display anomalies ....................................20

1.5.2

The requirement to update ECDIS software established in MSC.1/Circ.1503 ......................20

1.6

Concluding section – lex lata ...................................................................................................23

Chapter 2 – Updating ECDIS software: manual vs. automatic ................................................ 25
2.1 Updating paper charts ....................................................................................................................25
2.2 Updating Electronic Navigation Charts ........................................................................................25
2.2.1 The ‘primary’ procedure for updating ENC data – digital and automatic .................................27
2.2.2 The ‘secondary’ procedure for updating ENC data – manual corrections .................................27
2.2.3 Are manual corrections effected on the SENC considered official updates? ............................28

2

2.3 Consequences of a failure to update ECDIS software .................................................................31
2.4 Postponing the withdrawal of the validity of the previous editions of ECDIS software
(particularly S-52 and S-64) .................................................................................................................31

Chapter 3 – Conclusions from a Lex Ferenda perspective ....................................................... 33
3.1 Making MSC.1/Circ.1503 mandatory by reference into SOLAS – a quick fix? .......................33
3.2 Regional action at the level of the European Union? ...................................................................34
3.3 Amendments to SOLAS Chapter V from a Lex Ferenda perspective ........................................35
3.3.1 Unified interpretation of the meaning of ‘up-to-date’ in SOLAS ..............................................35
3.3.2 Making ECDIS the primary means of navigation for ships subject to the mandatory carriage
requirement .........................................................................................................................................36
3.3.3 Exception for situations in which there are no new navigational charts available for the journey
to be performed ...................................................................................................................................37
3.4 Looking into the future ...................................................................................................................37

Bibliography ................................................................................................................................ 38
Table of cases ..........................................................................................................................................38
Court of Justice of the European Union .........................................................................................38
Table of Legislation ................................................................................................................................38
International Legislation ..................................................................................................................38
European Union Legislation.............................................................................................................38
National Legislation ..........................................................................................................................39
IHO Publications ...............................................................................................................................39
IMO instruments ...............................................................................................................................40
Secondary Sources ..................................................................................................................................42
Academic literature ...........................................................................................................................42
Non-academic sources .......................................................................................................................43

3

Table of Abbreviations
AIS
AMSA
ARPA
BIMCO
BSH
Circ.
CJEU
CLIA
DG MOVE
DNV-GL
ECDIS
IMO
ECS
EEA
ENC
RNC
EU
HSSC
IALA
ICS
IEC
ICS
IHO
CIRM
MED
MSC
NAV
NCSR
NI
NTM
PS
PSSA
ASL
SENC
SHOM
SOLAS
STCW
UKHO
USCG
VTS
WWNWS

Automatic Identification System
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Automatic Radar Plotting Aid
Baltic and International Maritime Council
Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany
IMO circular
Court of Justice of the European Union
Cruise Lines International Association
European Commission Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport
Det Norske Veritas – Germanischer Lloyd Classification Society
Electronic Chart Display and Information System
International Maritime Organization
Electronic Chart System
European Economic Area
Electronic Navigational Chart
Raster Navigational Chart
European Union
Hydrographic Services and Standards Committee
International Association of Lighthouse Authorities
International Chamber of Shipping
International Electro-technical Commission
International Chamber of Shipping
International Hydrographic Organization
Comité International Radio-Marine
European Union Marine Equipment Directive
Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization
IMO Sub-committee on Safety of Navigation
IMO Sub-committee on Navigation, Communications, Search and Rescue
Nautical Institute
Notice to Mariners
Performance Standards
Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas
Archipelagic Sea Lanes
System Electronic Navigational Chart
Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine
International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea
International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and
Watch-keeping for Seafarers
United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
United States Coast Guard
Vessel Traffic Service
World-Wide Navigational Warning Service sub-committee

4

Introduction
1. Thesis statement
At a maritime law conference I attended in Bremen in 2015 I heard a phrase that intrigued me:
shipping is the most analog business in the world. Even though there is some truth to this statement,
it is evident that the shipping industry today, both afloat and ashore, is increasingly dependent on
sophisticated IT and electronic operational tools. One of the first such truly technologized devices
installed on vessels is the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS). The ECDIS
is a computer-based and satellite-guided navigation information system that can be used as an
alternative to traditional paper nautical charts.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires that all vessels engaged in international
voyages carry nautical charts1 on board. This dissertation will focus on the question of what
constitutes an ‘up-to-date navigational chart’ as per SOLAS V/27, in the context of ECDIS
equipment used to comply with the chart carriage requirement of SOLAS V/19.2.1.4. This topic
was put forward to the Nordisk Institutt for Sjørett by the classification society Det Norske Veritas
– Germanischer Lloyd (DNV-GL), and I took up the challenge of answering this question in the
hereby LL.M. in Maritime Law dissertation.
In order to give an answer to this question, the main part of this dissertation will provide an indepth analysis of the lex lata – in particular the legal obligations stemming from the International
Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and several IMO instruments regarding ECDIS.
Towards the end, this dissertation will also contemplate what the lex ferenda should be regarding
ECDIS software updating.

2. The Electronic Chart Display and Information System
An ECDIS comprises of three main elements: a) hardware, b) data rendering software (henceforth
ECDIS software), and c) data. The hardware (a) consists of a computer and a display. The
application software (b) is installed on the ECDIS computer and instructs the drawing engine of
the ECDIS on how to interpret and display the electronic navigational charts (ENC). The data (c)
is the set of ENC’s required for the voyage in question. An Electronic Navigational Chart is a
digital navigational chart in a vector format. In a vector chart, each point is digitally mapped, which
allows for sophisticated ways of interacting with the map. For instance, it is possible to click on a
feature of the map (e.g. a lighthouse) to display all the details of that feature.2 Moreover, ENC’s
in vector format allow for zooming without any loss of quality.3 This contrasts with Raster
Navigational Charts (RNC), which are basically just digital scans of paper charts, displayed on an
electronic screen.4 For this reason, RNC’s do not permit zooming without loss of quality.

1

Nautical charts are maps specifically designed to meet the requirements of marine navigation, showing amongst other things
depths, nature of the sea-floor, elevations, configuration and characteristics of the coast, dangers and other aids to navigation.
2
International Maritime Organization, ‘Navigation Charts’
<http://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Safety/Navigation/Pages/Charts.aspx> accessed on 18 May 2016.
3
United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Coast Survey ‘Differences between RNC’s
and ENC’s’ <http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/learn_diffRNC_ENC.html> accessed on 19 May 2016.
4
ibid.

5

Introduced in the early 1990’s, the ECDIS has been referred to as the ‘mariner’s window to the
world’.5 In an article from 1995, B. Riches from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority noted
that ‘ECDIS is more than merely a paper chart portrayed on a screen, ECDIS is a real-time,
automated decision-aid that is capable of continuously determining a vessel's position in relation
to land, charted objects, aids to navigation and unseen hazards.’6 Thus, in addition to displaying
the navigation charts, the ECDIS allows the mariner to display other essential information for
navigation (weather, marine traffic conditions, radar overlay, etc.). Mariners can program these
parameters into the ECDIS’s system, which can then produce visual and audible alarms to warn
of impending dangers.7 In addition, the ECDIS can model tidal heights for any given time and
place, which is a considerable aid for the mariner compared to printed tide tables.8
Today, ECDIS is a central component of the e-Navigation strategy9 developed by the IMO in
collaboration with a number of intergovernmental and non-intergovernmental organizations.10
With regard to ECDIS, the aim of the e-Navigation strategy is to evolve from the simple display
of electronic charts to complete ‘situational awareness’11 – derived from the harmonious and errorfree integration of all the electronic navigational tools on-board, such as the Automatic
Identification System (AIS), Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), Automatic Radar Plotting Aids
(ARPA), etc.
However, despite the multiple advantages that the ECDIS brings to the bridge, the United
Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) reported, for example, that in 2015 over 46% of the global
fleet of tankers (over 4,000 vessels) was not yet using an ENC service.12 This is a rather low
number when considering the potentially disastrous environmental effect that a tanker casualty
could have. In order to improve this situation, the SOLAS Convention has been amended in 2009
(as per Resolution MSC.282(86)), and now requires mandatory carriage of ECDIS for all vessels
engaged in international voyages. A rolling timetable for the installation of ECDIS was fixed in
SOLAS V Reg 19.2.10, which established a staged entry into force between 1 July 2012 and 1 July
2018 of the obligativity to have ECDIS installed on-board. The deadlines fixed in Regulation
19.2.10 are based on the type of vessel and on gross tonnage, as shown in the table below.

5

Wan Xiaoxia and Gan Chaohua, ‘Electronic Chart Display and Information System’ (2002) Vol. 5, Issue 1, Geo-spatial
Information Science Quarterly 7, 8.
6
Riches B, ‘ECDIS – its impact today’ (1995) Vol. 48, Issues 2, Journal of Navigation, 234.
7
United States NOAA website, Office of Coast Survey ‘Differences between RNC’s and ENC’s’.
8
Pillich B, ‘Tidal Overlay and Dynamic ECDIS – a giant step from paper charts and tide tables’ (1997) Oceans ’97 MTS/IEEE:
Conference Proceedings, 967.
9
The definition of e-Navigation (approved at MSC 85/26 Annex 20) is: ‘e-Navigation is the harmonized collection, integration,
exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information on board and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth to berth
navigation and related services for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine environment.’
10
These organizations are: the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the Comité International Radio-Maritime (CIRM),
the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the Baltic and
International Maritime Council (BIMCO), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
11
Bergmann M, ‘Integrated Data as backbone of e-Navigation’ (2013) Vol. 7, No. 3, International Journal of Marine Navigation
and Safety of Sea Transportation, 371.
12
Over 4,000 tankers not ready for upcoming ECDIS mandate (2016) <http://gcaptain.com/over-4000-tankers-not-ready-forupcoming-ecdis-mandate/> accessed on 1 August 2016.

6

3. The legal dispute
In short, the legal dispute is whether there exists a legal obligation to update the ECDIS application
software for vessels relying on ECDIS as the primary means of navigation. While this may seem
a trifle problem, it is significant as far as it holds great practical importance for the shipping
industry. Firstly, since updating the ECDIS application software is generally out of the control of
the ship-owner, this generally requires the vessel to be in a specific port in order for a representative
of the ECDIS manufacturer to come on-board and update the application software. This requires
time and money.
Secondly, it may be that the hardware is too old to be capable of running the updated version of
the application software. This would require updating or replacing the hardware (i.e. the ECDIS
itself), which often-times is not an easy task because the ECDIS is integrated into the bridge
systems. Again, this requires more time and money.
Thirdly, this legal uncertainty poses a problem from a regulatory point of view: should Flag
Administrations require its vessels to update the ECDIS software?; and could Port State
Authorities detain a vessel simply because the ECDIS application software is not up-to-date, even
though the ENC’s displayed by the ECDIS are up-to-date?
It is thus easy to see why it is important to know with certainty whether such a legal obligation to
update the ECDIS application software exists under the lex lata. The following is a condensed
exposé of the legal dispute:
SOLAS Chapter V/27 establishes that ‘nautical charts […] shall be adequate and up to date’, but
gives no further details as to what ‘up-to-date’ means for ENC’s and for paper charts. A strict
interpretation of this provision would be that only the ENC’s themselves have to be updated – an
action which is similar with the replacement of paper charts with up-to-date ones. However, the
authority of this strict interpretation is quickly eroded when the following aspect is taken into
7

account: if the ECDIS machine is running an older application software, the up-to-date ENC’s may
be displayed with errors. As learned from several surveys which are referred to later in this work,
there could be many different types of errors, each with a different degree of seriousness – for
instance, newer features like Particularly Sensitive Areas (PSSA) and Archipelagic Sea Lanes
(ASL) may not be displayed at all by ECDIS machines running older application software.13
In trying to combat this growing phenomenon, the IMO has adopted performance standards for
ECDIS systems, most recently through Resolution MSC.232(82) from 2006. These performance
standards were made mandatory by direct reference in SOLAS V/18.4.14 Further, the IMO has
adopted two (non-mandatory) guidance circulars, in an attempt to further clarify the requirements
for maintenance of ECDIS software: IMO SN.1/Circ.266/Rev.1 (2010) and IMO
MSC.1/Circ.1503 (2015). The latter instrument, for instance, states that ‘[…] ECDIS software
should be kept up to date such that it is capable of displaying up-to-date electronic charts correctly
according to the latest version of IHO's chart content and display standards.’
The issue is that although the language used in the latter circular is very strong, the instrument
itself is a mere guidance and hence not legally binding – unless it is voluntarily made mandatory
by Flag Administrations. For this reason, it cannot simply be concluded that ‘up-to-date
navigational charts’ (as per SOLAS V/27) implies that the ECDIS software has to be updated as
well in order to correctly display the ENC’s, because such an interpretation would clash with the
requirement in SOLAS V/18.4.15
From this provision it seems that an ECDIS having a valid type approval certificate at the date of
installation will continue to comply with the carriage requirement of regulation SOLAS V/19.2.1.4
also when the relevant ECDIS software is updated afterwards. To put it more simply, this means
that even in the absence of any software update for the entire life of the vessel, the ECDIS would
still comply with SOLAS. Of course, since vessels have a rather long life-cycle, and computer
technology has seen a sharp increase in the last two decades (trend which is likely to continue at
an exponential rate), one can reasonably expect the hardware – let alone the software – installed
when the vessel was launched to become obsolete well before the vessel is taken out of service.
Having set the background of the legal dispute, the legal question that this dissertation will seek to
answer is: in the international legal framework as it stands today, is there an unambiguous
obligation to update the ECDIS software in order to correctly display the up-to-date ENC’s?
The research question will be answered in Chapter 1. Upon answering the main research question,
Chapter 2 will discuss the differences between integrated and non-integrated ENC updates. In the
end, Chapter 3 will conclude this dissertation by attempting to portray the lex ferenda – focusing
primarily on whether such an unambiguous obligation to update the ECDIS software should exist
from the point of view of safety of navigation.

13

See section 1.4.
SOLAS contains the following mandatory language in V/18.4: ‘for an electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS)
to be accepted as satisfying the chart carriage requirement of regulation 19.2.1.4, that system shall conform to the relevant
performance standards not inferior to those adopted by the Organization in effect on the date of installation […]’.
15
ibid.
14

8

Chapter 1 – Lex Lata
In order to answer the research question, it is necessary to examine lex lata in-depth. The following
sections will outline and analyse the law as it stands, while the final section of this chapter will
draw the conclusions based on the knowledge gathered.
1.1 What is governed by SOLAS Chapter V regarding ECDIS?
This section will spell-out the provisions of SOLAS which are relevant with regard to the
implementation and operation of ECDIS. The first relevant provisions are found in Regulation 18
(as per SOLAS Consolidated edition 2014),16 which deals with ‘approval, surveys and
performance standards of navigational systems and equipment’:
Regulation 18.2:
Systems and equipment, including associated back-up arrangements, where applicable,
installed on or after 1 July 2002 to perform the functional requirements of regulations 19
and 20 shall conform to appropriate performance standards not inferior to those adopted
by the Organization.*
The asterisk indicates that reference has to be made, inter alia, to several IMO-adopted
recommendations and performance standards, among which the Recommendation on
Performance Standards for electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS)
(Resolution A.817(19), as amended).
Regulation 18.4:
[…] However, for an electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) to be
accepted as satisfying the chart carriage requirement of regulation 19.2.1.4, that system
shall conform to the relevant performance standards not inferior to those adopted by the
Organization in effect on the date of installation, or, for systems installed before 1
January 1999, not inferior to the performance standards adopted by the Organization on
23 November 1995.*
The asterisk indicates that reference has to be made, inter alia, to the (revised) Performance
Standards for Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) (Resolution
A.817(19), and Resolution MSC.232(82)).
Regulation 18.4 represents the legal basis for ECDIS installations already in operation on board,
which have to be type-approved in order to meet the required IMO performance standards in effect
on the date of installation. The conclusion can thus be drawn that an ECDIS having a valid typeapproval certificate at the ‘date of installation’ will continue to comply with the carriage
requirement of regulation SOLAS V/19.2.1.4 also when newer ECDIS software standards come
into force, and the ECDIS in question is not updated to these latest standards. This is a crucial
qualification to which reference will be made very often in this dissertation.

16

It is important to note that a revised Chapter V (Safety of Navigation) of SOLAS was adopted by the IMO’s Maritime Safety
Committee at its 73rd session (see IMO Resolution MSC.99(73)). This came into force on 1 July 2002, and is hence included in
the 2014 Consolidated version of SOLAS used in this dissertation.

9


Related documents


updating the ecdis dissertation
ransome on high seas
booklist
rosswilkinscv2014v5
2005 dodge dakota 5249 page dealer service manual nd sm
limofinalv1191003

Link to this page


Permanent link

Use the permanent link to the download page to share your document on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or directly with a contact by e-Mail, Messenger, Whatsapp, Line..

Short link

Use the short link to share your document on Twitter or by text message (SMS)

HTML Code

Copy the following HTML code to share your document on a Website or Blog

QR Code

QR Code link to PDF file Updating the ECDIS - dissertation.pdf