LNG Policy - by BL Mehta
- Challenges by R.L.Pai
London Maritime Arbitration – Recent Trends
By Clive Aston
Transportation – Legal Aspects
By Pushpa Pandya
Index- Average Adjuster Role
By Leena Mody
to Successful Ship Management
ELECTRONIC NAVIGATION CHARTS (ENCs)
- Official ENCs Seamlessly Merged With C-MAP Charts
By Captain Raj S. Chakravorty
The author is the Director of C-MAP
India Private Limited responsible for promoting C-MAP products
in the Indian subcontinent. He is a Charge Hydrographic Surveyor
and a Master Mariner. He has experience both on Hydrographic
ships and Commercial shipping.
Sometimes I wonder whether
institutions are teaching sufficiently about electronic charts
and the systems which run them. New regulations have been
brought into force in SOLAS, IMO and also through International
Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) Resolutions. IHO has become
important since the 2002 amendments to Chapter V of SOLAS. Yet
not many books exist to simplify this subject for the ultimate
user - the mariners. Regulations, as such, reveal only one side
of a multi-faceted structure. In a real world there are many
other factors which affect the working of a system.
The ship-operator gets confused by terms such as Primar or
IC-ENC ".......very heavy terms! We only understand IMO. Where
in IMO have they mentioned them?" asked one ship-operator who
was exploring charting options for his VLCC.
Primar and IC-ENC, the two Regional Centres responsible for
distributing official charts have jointly produced a remarkably
fine compendium on Chart carriage regulations. It is a must-read
for all mariners who wish to learn about the current regulations
for charts. The underlying fact is that only Electronic
Navigation Charts (ENCs) from national Hydrographic Offices (HOs)
can replace paper charts on commercial ships. No other types of
chart, whether vector or raster, official or otherwise, can be
used without a backup of paper charts.
Some ship-owners do not understand the logic behind this IMO
dictum. I mean, here are these C-MAP vector charts which have
been sourced from the same HOs to whom C-MAP is paying
royalties. And unlike others these charts actually have a
worldwide coverage. Moreover NMEA - a regulatory body has
selected C-MAP charts as the best in the world for last six
years consecutively. Yet you still require a paper chart backup
when you use them!!
Apart from its own charts C-MAP also distributes Official ENCs
produced by national Hydrographic Offices all over the world.
It is one year since the Indian HO started distributing ENCs.
These charts were given to C-MAP by the Chief Hydrographer of
India, Admiral BR Rao in February 2005. The first year was a
testing time for us. However, we found the market response to be
very encouraging. Our ENC sales were more than double the
projected target. A main reason was because all the minor ports
in India are covered only by ENCs.
Indian ENCs distributed by C-MAP are supported by the Real Time
Updating service. End users can log on to the C-MAP server and
download the chart corrections from the net. Each chart costs Rs
1150 (24 USD) and comes with 1 year free updates.
Sixty percent of the customers for Indian ENCs are commercial
ships, the rest are Ports and VTSs. Overall, it is found that
the vessels carrying sensitive cargoes such as oil and gas
tankers and the cruise and ferry industry dominate the customer
group for world ENCs.
Selling ENC chart data used to be a challenge in the past. Poor
coverage, high cost and a limited number of approved ECDISs were
considered to be hampering the demand. Now many new ships are
coming fitted with proper ECDIS. ENC coverage in the world has
improved considerably now. Western Europe, Mediterranean, Indian
sub-continent and the US have adequate ENC coverage. Prices have
been reduced by some HOs to attract more customers.
One of the main reasons for increased sales of ENCs is due to
the promotion of the Dual-fuel concept by C-MAP. If a customer
were to navigate with only ENCs there would be large gaps or
'black holes' where there are no chart coverage. What C-MAP has
done is to merge its own CM93 Chart database with the ENC data.
The CM93 database is the world's most comprehensive vector chart
database. It has a total worldwide coverage with more than 15000
charts available on one CD. When the ENCs are merged with it
then users get a convenient method of sailing with official ENC
data where they are available or with CM93 charts where they are
As both charts are in the same format, the vector-vector type of
Dual-fuelling has many advantages. The charts are seamlessly
merged horizontally as well as vertically. There is no switching
between databases. Both share the same Updating service. For the
user the chart presentation and functionalities remains same.
Sailing with Official ENCs means the customer need not stock
paper chart folio for those areas provided the other conditions
of an approved ECDIS are met.
The ENCs are distributed after they have been converted to CM93
format to facilitate the Dual-fuelling. This is called the SENC
method of distribution which has been permitted since April 2002
under the Technical Resolution A3.11 – ENC/SENC Distribution
Option. Using this method C-MAP has achieved seamless
vector-vector global chart coverage. This in fact is the USP of
The SENC method of ENC distribution pioneered by C-MAP has been
found to be very customer-friendly due to two reasons - data
compression to the extent that all available ENCs fit into one
DVD. So the chart management is better. Secondly the ENCs that
reaches the end user is error-free having already being tested
on systems ashore before being used on the ECDIS on board.
Today C-MAP is the world's largest distributor of official ENCs
providing this service for 30 countries.
A point to be noted is that it is impossible to integrate raster
charts seamlessly with vector ENCs. Sailing from one chart area
to another would make the ship jump on the screen. There is a
clear demarcation between the two different types of charts.
Even the colour schemes are different and users get a mismatched
view on the screen. Though IMO permits ECDIS to be operated with
Raster Charts, this mode does not have the full functionality of
ECDIS and can only be used together with an appropriate
portfolio of up-to-date paper charts.
Though there is an increase in ENC sales their demand will
actually shoot up if the prices are brought down substantially.
At present there is no incentive for buying them in bulk.
Because there are so many countries and agencies involved the
prices are also not uniformly applied. Since there is no single
agency controlling folio management or bulk pricing of ENCs, it
is unthinkable to sail with worldwide ENC coverage because of
the cost factor alone. Hopefully the pricing anomaly will be
corrected in the near future.
Further, paper charts can be bought permanently and kept updated
for many years free of cost till the paper lasts or the chart is
replaced. When customers compare this aspect of paper charts
with ENCs they find it more attractive. ENCs come with a
time-tag and they lapse after one year.
Nevertheless, C-MAP is interacting closely with the customers to
assess their needs. A major headache for customers used to be
the selection and licensing of ENCs. C-MAP has simplified these
two things considerably.
In the last few years there has been a strong development within
Meteorological Science. Aided by super-computers, satellite data
and weather buoys there has been a tremendous development in
C-MAP has embarked on a project to integrate the weather
forecasting with navigation at sea. It aims to provide quality
information from European Centre for Medium-Range Weather
Forecasts (ECMWF) in an easily accessible form onto the chart.
The mariner is helped to choose reliable information from the
confusing amount of data floating in the internet.
C-MAP Marine Forecast is an ambitious project and headed by a
highly qualified Meteorologist. They already have a standalone
system in the market, called Weatherview which
allows mariners to download a ten-day weather forecast with
either global or regional data.
In the next few months C-MAP is expected to merge the Weather
forecasting system with Oceanview and Vessel based Electronic
Charting Systems. Oceanview is a popular Office Charting System
used by many ship-managers and operators to manage their fleet.
A practical use of weather forecasting is to integrate it with
vessel’s voyage planning to form weather routing. It is
extremely useful to find out how the weather will affect the
vessel’s intended passage. It gives indication of dangerous
weather along the route.
With the continuous advancements taking place in the Electronic
Charting technology the day is not far when every ship will have
them on board. Navigation, the way we know, will change forever.
IC Engine Condition
Double Skin Bulkers
Electronic Navigation Charts - by
Captain Raj S. Chakravorty,