The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has revised its ECDIS standards, with an implementation date of 1 September 2017. A new ECDIS installed after 31 August 2017 shall conform to the latest IHO standards.
DNV GL has been approached by customers uncertain about how to interpret the new requirements for their fleet in service. Is an upgrade of the ECDIS in operation required? Or even a complete replacement? Will an exemption application be viable? To name just a few questions.
For existing ECDIS installations, the IMO has addressed the issue of software maintenance in guideline MSC.1/Circ.1503. The general perception in the maritime industry appears to be that the guideline shall be followed and that an ECDIS upgrade must be conducted for ships in service. Most flag administrations have addressed compliance with the latest IHO standards as mandatory for ships flying their flag. This means that an ECDIS upgrade will be required.
It is expected that several port states will also consider an upgrade as mandatory, and that lack of upgrading may be considered a deficiency, which could lead to detainment. A confirmation of this anticipation can unfortunately not be expected until the implementation date has been passed.
General recommendation is therefore to contact your ECDIS manufacturer to initiate an upgrade of existing ECDIS software for compliance with the latest IHO standards.
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