Tag Archives: Safety of Navigation

SOLAS V and Nautical Charts

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V> Nautical Charts

Part of a UKHO chart showing Cornwall

Charts and publications are the next topic covered in this series on SOLAS and the safety of Navigation.

What SOLAS Regulation covers Nautical Charts and Publications?

SOLAS Regulation 27 – Nautical Charts and Nautical Publications.

What does SOLAS V Regulation 27 require?

That Nautical charts and nautical publications, necessary for the intended voyage, shall be:

  • Adequate;
  • Up to date.

Cover of UKCHO chart Maintenance Record

Click for UK MCA guidance on Regulation 27

Click for IMO page on charts

Click for ILO page on electronic charts

Click for IMO guidence on electronic charts

What is a nautical chart according to SOLAS?

Reg 2 of SOLAS V states that it is map or a specially compiled database from which such a map is derived. It also has to be issued officially by or on the authority of a Government, authorized Hydrographic Office or other relevant government institution and is designed to meet the requirements of marine navigation.

UK guidance states that a chart must be of such a scale and contain sufficient detail as clearly to show:

  • All navigational marks which may be used by a ship when navigating the waters which are covered by the chart;
  • All known dangers affecting those waters;
  • All information concerning any ships’ routeing and ship reporting measures applicable to those waters.

Click for information about the UKHO

Some suggested books on Amazon

Search Amazon for books on chart symbols

Search Amazon for books on nautical charts

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SOLAS V and Manning

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V> Ship’s Manning

After an excursion into security and moorings this blog returns to explore SOLAS and the safety of Navigation. This it is a topic that overlaps with the certification series of posts, that of safe manning.

Dubai ships

Within SOLAS V is a Regulation that covers both manning levels and language.

What SOLAS Regulation covers ship’s manning?

SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 14.

Click here for UK MCA guidance on this regulation>

What does this regulation require Governments to do?

To maintain, or, if it is necessary, to adopt, measures for the purpose of ensuring that, from the point of view of safety of life at sea, all ships shall be sufficiently and efficiently manned.

For every  ship on international voyages the flag state shall:

  • Establish appropriate minimum safe manning following a transparent procedure, taking into account the relevant guidance adopted by the Organization;
  • Issue an appropriate minimum safe manning document or equivalent as evidence of the minimum safe manning.

Click here for IMO A.1047- Principles of Safe Manning>

Click here for a handy guide on the Safe Manning Document>

What does the Regulation say about a working language?

  • On all ships, to ensure effective crew performance in safety matters, a working language shall be established and recorded in the ship’s log-book;
  • The company, or the master, as appropriate, shall determine the appropriate working language;
  • Each seafarer shall be required to understand and, where appropriate, give orders and instructions and to report back in that language;
  • If the working language is not an official language of the Flag State, all plans and lists required to be posted shall include a translation into the working language.

Cargo ship bridge

What does the Regulation say about the language to be used for external communications?

On ships on international voyages English shall be used on the bridge as the working language for:

  • Bridge-to-bridge;
  • Bridge-to-shore safety communications;
  • Communications on board between the pilot and bridge watchkeeping personnel

This does not apply if those directly involved in the communication speak a common language other than English.

Click here for A 22/Res.918 IMO Standard Marine Communication Phrases>

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The Safety of Navigation and the Polar Code

Iceberg through a bridge window

A handy summary of the safety of Navigation elements of the polar code.

Another part of the Polar Code looked at in this blog, and another chance to share some ice photos.

Navigation in the polar regions present some challenges, and the Polar code contains some important requirements to meet those challenges.

What part of the Polar Code covers the safety of Navigation?

Chapter 9

What are the requirements for Navigational equipment functionality?

The navigational equipment and systems shall be:

  • Designed
  • Constructed
  • Installed

-to retain their functionality under the expected environmental conditions in the area of operation.

Systems for providing reference headings and position fixing shall be suitable for the intended areas.

What additional navigational equipment is required under the Polar Code?

Detecting the ice

  • Ships shall have means of receiving and displaying current information on ice

    Sea ice forming at South Georgia

    conditions in the area of operation

  • Ships shall have the ability to visually detect ice when operating in darkness
  • Two remotely rotatable, narrow-beam search lights controllable from the bridge to provide lighting over an arc of 360 degrees, or other means to visually detect ice. This is not required by vessels  solely operating in areas with 24 hours daylight


  • Either two independent echo-sounding devices or one echo-sounding device with two separate independent transducers. This applies to ships constructed on or after 1 January 2017 that are  ice strengthened in accordance with chapter 3 of the code
  • Two non-magnetic means to determine and display their heading.Both means shall be independent and shall be connected to the ship’s main and emergency source of power
  • Ships proceeding to latitudes over 80 degrees shall be fitted with at least one GNSS compass or equivalent, which shall be connected to the ship’s main and emergency source of power
  • For ships operating in areas, and during periods, where ice accretion is likely to occur, means to prevent the accumulation of ice on antennas required for navigation and communication
  • For ice strengthened ships  where equipment required by SOLAS chapter V or the Polar Code  have sensors that project below the hull, such sensors shall be protected against ice.

Rock formation at Hystviken

Working with icebreakers

  • Ships involved in operations with an icebreaker escort shall be equipped with a manually initiated flashing red light visible from astern to indicate when the ship is stopped.

This light shall have a range of visibility of at least two nautical miles, and the horizontal and vertical arcs of visibility shall conform to the stern light specifications in the COLREGS.

What are the Polar Code requirements regarding bridge design?

Ships shall comply with SOLAS regulation V/, irrespective of the date of construction and the size and, depending on the bridge configuration, a clear view astern.

In category A and B ships constructed on or after 1 January 2017, the bridge wings shall be enclosed or designed to protect navigational equipment and operating personnel.

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The requirement to keep nautical charts and publications up to date

Adequate and up to date, the two important features that SOLAS V demands of charts and publications. This post looks at that requirement in more detail, and also introduces a new book in the ‘Really Handy Guide’ range of Kindle Revision aids.

Bridge wings and MoonSOLAS V Regulation 27 – Nautical Charts and Nautical Publications

What are the requirements for the carriage of nautical charts and publications according to SOLAS V?

Nautical charts and nautical publications necessary for the intended voyage, shall be:

  • Adequate
  • Up to date

Note: Flag states can have some flexibility in defining which ships have to comply with this Regulation. In the case of UK flagged ships it applies to all ships except for pleasure vessels of less than 150 gt.

What type of publications does this refer to?

Sailing directions, lists of lights, notices to mariners, tide tables and all other nautical publications.

A definition from the regulations

 “Nautical chart” or “nautical publication” is a special-purpose map or book, or a specially compiled database from which such a map or book is derived, that is issued officially by or on the authority of a Government, authorized Hydrographic Office or other relevant government institution and is designed to meet the requirements of marine navigation.” Regulation 2

What SOLAS Regulation states the carriage requirements for charts and nautical publications?

SOLAS V Regulation 19.

Where can I find some useful guidance on the carriage and use of Nautical Charts and Publications?

In Annex 3 to the UK guidance to SOLAS V.

Guidance on the use of Electronic Charts is contained in ANNEX 14.
Bridge window

UK guidance on the updating of electronic charts

Within the  UK MCA SOLAS V guidance is a section on the updating of electronic charts, here is a summary of the key points.

  • Updates available in port should be applied before passage planning commences and before leaving port.
  •  If updates are received at sea they should be applied as soon as possible.
  • Any changes relevant to the execution of the passage plan should be noted on the passage plan
  •  Updates need to be applied to both primary and secondary systems
  •  Records should be kept of when updates are received and applied
  •  During passage planning it should be checked that any licences concerning the use of the software and its updates will remain valid for a period in excess of the expected worst-case voyage duration. If this is not the case corrective action needs to be taken.

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Part 4

Keeping the seas clean

This is a guide for the professional mariner studying for their officer qualifications; it mixes facts about the certificates, revision questions, and then adds a bit more. It covers the ship ship certification associated with environmental protection; certification that includes the IOPP, NLS, IAPPC, IEE, anti-fouling certification and Ballast water convention certification.

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The International Code of Signals and IAMSAR manual in SOLAS

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V>International Code of Signals

SOLAS V Regulation 21 – International Code of Signals and IAMSAR Manual

Those SOLAS V regulations are being slowly and surely visited in this blog; the evidence of growing hyperlinks on the index page confirms this, the gaps are disappearing. This post looks at the requirement for vessels to carry two publications, the International Code of Signals and IAMSAR manual.

RY flag signal being flown by HMS Warrior

Which ships are required to carry a copy of the International Code of Signals?

All ships which, in accordance with SOLAS are required to carry a radio installation shallCodeSignals carry the International Code of Signals. This means all passenger ships, and all cargo ships of 300 GT and over, when engaged on international voyages,

What does IAMSAR stand for?

International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue

Which ships are required to carry an IAMSAR manual?

SOLAS V states that all ships shall carry an up-to-date copy of Volume III of the (IAMSAR) Manual. However, SOLAS also gives flag states the authority to ammend this requirement. In the case of UK flagged ships the following ships are not required to carry the manual:

  • Ships below 150 gt on any voyage
  • Ships below 500 gt not engaged on international voyages
  • fishing vessels

Click here for information from the IMO on the IAMSAR manual>

What is the IAMSAR manual?

The Manual provides guidelines for a common aviation and maritime approach to IAMSAR

organizing and providing search and rescue (SAR) services. It is Jointly published by IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Click to find IAMSAR Manual on Amazon>

The three IAMSAR volumes

Volume I, Organization and Management

  • The global Search and Rescue (SAR) system conceptimg_20160915_071815_kindlephoto-118812233.jpg
  • The  establishment and improvement of national and regional SAR systems
  • Co-operation with neighbouring States to provide effective and economical SAR services.

Volume II, Mission Co-ordination

The planning  and co- ordination SAR operations and exercises.

Volume III, Mobile Facilities

To be carried aboard rescue units, aircraft and vessels to help with performance of a search, rescue or on-scene co-ordinator function, and with aspects of SAR that apply to their own emergencies.

A useful web page-IMO codes

Whilst wandering around the internet researching this post I stumbled across this useful resource from the IMO.

Abbreviations of IMO codes>

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Available for:

  • Colregs
  • Seamanship
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Electromagnetic Compatibility and Navigational Equipment

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V>Electromagnetic Compatibility

A Handy Guide to SOLAS V Regulation 17 – Electromagnetic Compatibility

Polarcus Alima's bridge

After that brief pause to look at changes to MARPOL this blog now returns to exploring the regulations of SOLAS Chapter V.

Click here to read Regulation 17 on the UK MCA website>

What vessels must comply with Regulation 17?

Ships constructed on or after 1 July 2002

What does this regulation require regarding equipment testing of bridge equipment?

That all electrical and electronic equipment on the bridge or in the vicinity of the bridge is tested for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

What resolution gives the requirements for Electromagnetic compatibility with navigational equipment?


Click here to view the resolution>

What should the installation of electrical and electronic equipment avoid with regards to bridge navigation equipment?

Electromagnetic interference affecting the proper function of navigational systems and equipment. Portable electrical and electronic equipment shall not be operated on the bridge if it may affect the proper function of navigational systems and equipment.

What must masters ensure regarding portable electronic equipment being used on a ship’s bridge?

That no portable electrical or electronic equipment that might cause interference is used on or near the bridge. This includes not only ship’s equipment but also personal items such as  portable radios, hi-fi equipment and lap top computers. Non-transmitting equipment displaying the European “CE” mark will probably not cause interference.

Mobile phones, while not likely to cause electromagnetic interference, prove to be an increasing distraction to safe navigation. MGN (M&F) 299 – Interference with Safe Navigation through inappropriate use of Mobile Phones is to be complied with.

IECFor Electromagnetic Compatibility standards refer to IEC 60945

Click to search for IEC 60945 on Amazon>

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A handy guide to the SOLAS requirements for the carriage of LRIT

Dubai and ship

Another post, and another piece of equipment required by SOLAS V

What does LRIT stand for?

Long-Range Identification and Tracking

It a system that enables the global identification and tracking of ships using existing  GMDSS equipment on board (INMARSAT-C)

What SOLAS Regulation Requires LRIT to be carried?

Regulation 19-1

This regulation establishes provisions to enable Contracting Governments to undertake the long-range identification and tracking of ships.

 What ships are required to carry LRIT?


Click on the picture to see this diagram on the IMO website

The following ships engaged on international voyages:

  • Passenger ships, including high-speed passenger craft;
  • Cargo ships, including high-speed craft, of 300 gross tonnage and upwards; and
  • Mobile offshore drilling units.

Ships, operated exclusively within sea area A1 shall not be required to carry LRIT

 What information must be automatically transmitted?

Ships shall automatically transmit the following long-range identification and tracking information:

  •  The identity of the ship
  • The position of the ship (latitude and longitude)
  • The date and time of the position provided

A ship’s LRIT equipment must transmit position reports at 6-hour intervals unless a more frequent interval is requested remotely by an LRIT Data Centre

When can the equipment be switched off?

In exceptional circumstances and for the shortest duration possible where the operation Bridge widow with a gold screenis considered by the master to compromise the safety or security of the ship. In such a case, the master shall inform the Administration without undue delay and make an entry in the record of navigational activities and setting out the reasons for the decision and indicating the period during which the system or equipment was switched off.

Who can receive the information?

An Administration shall be entitled to receive such information about ships entitled to fly its flag irrespective of where such ships may be located.

A Contracting Government shall be entitled to receive such information about ships which have indicated their intention to enter a port facility, or a place under the jurisdiction of that Contracting Government, irrespective of where such ships may be located provided they are not located within the waters landward of the baselines of another Contracting Government.

A  Contracting Government shall be entitled to receive such information about ships entitled to fly the flag of other Contracting Governments, not intending to enter a port facility or a place under the jurisdiction of that Contracting Government, navigating within a distance not exceeding 1,000 nautical miles of its coast provided such ships are not located within the waters landward of the baselines, established in accordance with international law, of another Contracting Government.

 Can ship’s be charged for receipt of LRIT information?

Contracting Governments shall not impose any charges on ships in relation to the long-range identification and tracking information they may seek to receive.

What certification is required for LRIT?

A LRIT Conformance report.

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The maintenance of navigation equipment

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V>Maintenance of Navigational Equipment

Radars , radios and lights on ship's gantry mastSOLAS V Regulation 16-Maintenance of equipment.

On the Navregs  blog writing the front the exploration of SOLAS V continues . This time the focus is on maintenance.

What is the requirements for the maintenance of navigational equipment?

That adequate arrangements are in place to ensure that the performance of the equipment required by SOLAS Chapter V is maintained.

Note This will include ensuring that proper manuals enabling on-board maintenance are available and that that companies have ensured a comprehensive back-up service, including provision of both spares and maintenance engineers by manufacturers or their agents.

Can a vessel sail with defective navigational equipment?

Yes, where repair facilities are not readily available, provided suitable arrangements are made by the master to take the inoperative equipment or unavailable information into account in planning and executing a safe voyage to a port where repairs can take place. In such cases the vessel must obtain approval from their flag state. Approval to sail will not apply to cases when the defects are detected during a safety survey.

The decision to allow a vessel to sale with defective equipment  will depend on the equipment involved, the magnitude of the malfunction and it’s effect on the ship being able to complete the voyage safely.

Equipment manuals and IEC

IEC 60945, issued by the IEC states that equipment manuals must be:

  • Be written in English
  • Identify the category of the equipment or units to which they refer
  • in the case of equipment so designed that fault diagnosis and repair down to component level are practicable, provide full circuit diagrams, component layouts and a component parts list
  • In the case of equipment containing complex modules in which fault diagnosis and repair down to component level are not practicable, contain sufficient information to enable a defective complex module to be located, identified and replaced.

IEC is the international Electrotechnical Commission.

ISM and maintenance

ISM paragraph 5.10 contains the codes requirements for maintenance.

“5.10 Maintenance of the Ship and Equipment

5.10.1 The Company should establish procedures to ensure that the ship is maintained in conformity with the provisions of the relevant rules and regulations and with any additional requirements which may be established by the Company.

5.10.2 In meeting these requirements the Company should ensure that:
.1 inspections are held at appropriate intervals;
.2 any non-conformity is reported, with its possible cause, if known;
.3 appropriate corrective action is taken; and
.4 records of these activities are maintained”

Click here for a Really Handy Guide to the ISM code on Amazon (Kindle edition)>


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The use of heading and track control- a quick guide

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V>Heading and Track Control
A cargo ship at sunrise off DawlishAnother SOLAS V Regulation, and another regulation on steering gear. This one covers what used to be called the  ‘Auto Pilot’, before technology gave us many variations to play with.

The importance of the steering gear in safety of navigation is reflected in the fact there are several regulations devoted to it within SOLAS V. So far this blog has covered these two-

And now, it will look at a third.

SOLAS V Regulation 24 – Use of heading and/or track control systems-a quick guide

When must it be possible to immediately establish manual control of a ship’s steering?

  • In areas of high traffic density
  • in conditions of restricted visibility
  • in all other hazardous navigational situations

 “(l) The term “restricted visibility” means any condition in which visibility is restricted by fog, mist, falling snow, heavy rainstorms, sandstorms or any other similar causes.” COLREGS Rule 3

What must the Officer of the watch have immediately available in  areas of high traffic density, in conditions of restricted visibility, and in all other hazardous navigational situations?

The services of a qualified helmsperson who shall be ready at all times to take over steering control.

How should the changeover from automatic to manual steering and vice versa shall be made?

By or under the supervision of a responsible officer.

When at sea should the manual steering be tested?

After prolonged use of heading and/or track control systems, and before entering areas where navigation demands special caution.

What International standard refers to Heading Control standards?

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Cover of the Really handy Guide to Ship Certification, part 3.

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SOLAS V and Steering Gear

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V>Steering Gear

Stern of Isle of Wight Ferry Leaving Portsmouth

Another Regulation of SOLAS V-Safety of Navigation-explored

And so the wader through SOLAS V continues with its equipment related theme. This time its the steering gear, and in particular. the tests an Officer of the Watch must conduct.

Regulation 26-Steering gear- Testing and Drills

This Regulation within SOLAS V contains the requirements for the pre-sailing tests of steering gear tests.

Click here for the UK MCA guidance on Regulation 26>

When should the pre-departure testing of steering gear be conducted?

It should be tested within 12 hours before departure

What equipment should include within the steering gear testing procedure?

  • The main steering gear
  • The auxiliary steering gear
  • The remote steering gear control systems
  • The steering positions located on the navigation bridge
  • The emergency power supply
  • The rudder angle indicators in relation to the actual position of the rudder
  • The remote steering gear control system power failure alarms
  • The steering gear power unit failure alarms
  • The automatic isolating arrangements and other automatic equipment

What tests and checks should be included in the steering gear testing procedures?

  • The full movement of the rudder according to the required capabilities of the steering gear
  • A visual inspection for the steering gear and its connecting linkage
  • The operation of the means of communication between the navigation bridge and steering gear compartment


The flag state may waive the requirements to carry out the checks and tests for ships which regularly engage on short voyages. Such ships shall carry out these checks and tests at least once every week.

How often should the emergency steering gear be tested?

Emergency steering drills shall take place at least once every three months.

These drills shall include

  • Direct control within the steering gear compartment
  • The communications procedure with the navigation bridge
  • Where applicable, the operation of alternative power supplies

The date upon which the checks and tests are carried out and the date and details of emergency steering drills carried shall be recorded.

What should be displayed regarding the steering gear change over procedures?

A simple operating instructions with a block diagram showing the change-over procedures for remote steering gear control systems. This shall be permanently displayed on the navigation bridge and in the steering compartment.

Note: All ships’ officers concerned with the operation and/or maintenance of steering gear shall be familiar with the operation of the steering systems fitted on the ship and with the procedures for changing from one system to another.

Car ferry manouvering

In addition to the testing requirements, SOLAS V contains a short regulation requiring the use of more than one steering gear.

SOLAS V Regulation 25-Operation of Steering Gear

When should more than one steering gear be used?

In areas where navigation demands special caution,  when steering gear units are capable of simultaneous operation.

Click here for MCA guidance on Regulation 25>

A diversion beyond SOLAS V into the Construction section of the convention gives the performance standards required when testing the steering gear.

SOLAS II-1 Regulation 29-Steering Gear

How quick should a rudder turn?

At maximum ahead service speed the rudder must be capable of putting the rudder over:

From 35° on one side to 35° on the other side


From 35° on either side to 30° on the other side in not more than 28 seconds.

The auxiliary steering gear shall be of adequate strength and capable of steering the ship at navigable speed and be capable of putting the rudder over from 15° on one side to 15° on the other side in not more than 60 seconds at one half of the maximum ahead service speed or 7 knots, whichever is the greater.

Other online sources of information

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Part 3

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