Demand for Australian Electronic Navigational Charts exceeds 250,000 per year

Published on Ms Elizabeth de Bol (author), LSIS Brenton Freind (photographer)

Topic(s): Hydrography and Oceanography

Stock image: The new Australian Electronic Navigational Charts (AusENC) service was launched on World Hydrographic Day in 2012 by former Hydrographer of Australia, Commodore Rod Nairn (left). (photo: LSIS Brenton Freind)
Stock image: The new Australian Electronic Navigational Charts (AusENC) service was launched on World Hydrographic Day in 2012 by former Hydrographer of Australia, Commodore Rod Nairn (left).

Demand for Navy’s Australian Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC) has exceeded 250,000 in the first year of the introduction of new International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements, Hydrographer of Australia Commodore Brett Brace announced today.

To improve safety the IMO mandated the phased adoption of compulsory carriage of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS) and ENC by international shipping from July 2012.

This year, although only new-build ships had to comply with the IMO mandate, ships are clearly changing over well ahead of requirements. There are already in excess of 250,000 Australian ENC in use. Demand is split between domestic and international users.

In Australia, ENC is available as the 'AusENC' service, tailored to domestic Australian operations. Internationally, Australian ENC is included in a number of international ENC services offered by the IC-ENC distribution network.

Australia’s international seaborne trade is now worth in excess of $300 billion annually. It’s the Navy’s Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS) that provides both the 'roads' and the 'roadmaps', to help ensure those ships arrive at port safely.

The majority of vessels trading to and from Australia undertake extensive coastal voyages to reach our ports, with at least 30% of most international voyages conducted through environmentally sensitive coastal, reef strewn or shallow waters and frequently all three. Given the relative time ships spend negotiating those coastal trade routes, this is where the greatest risk to Australia’s international supply lines lies.

The IMO mandate was introduced following studies that strongly suggested a 30% reduction in the number of vessel groundings worldwide with the adoption of ECDIS and ENC, and an AHS study also confirms this view.

“This uptake of ENC means safer navigation, efficient maritime trade, and protection of the marine environment,” Commodore Brace said.

The Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS) is part of the Royal Australian Navy and is Australia’s national charting authority. It is the only authority that can publish official electronic and paper nautical charts of the Australian Charting Area.

For more information about Australian Electronic Navigational Charts (AusENC), visit the Australian Hydrographic Service website at http://hydro.gov.au/prodserv/digital/ausENC/enc.htm.