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Monday, November 4, 2019 

DNV GL says it is experiencing an increased number of queries related to nautical publications in digital form, so has issued a statutory notice about how to stay compliant.

Chapter V of SOLAS says that nautical charts and publications must be carried on all ships and kept up to date, and although it permits charts and publications to be used in electronic form, with a suitable backup system, it does not currently state any requirements for the hardware used for display.

Many flag states have issued their own guidance on digital products, and DNV GL stresses that any flag state requirements must be followed. Digital nautical publications on the bridge may be used as part of an ECDIS system, as long as the equipment carries the appropriate approvals.

Alternatively, the publication software may be run on a separate computer. And here, the class society recognises that there is a gap in the requirements. The latest DNV GL Technical News says that as a result, on many SOLAS vessels, digital nautical publications have been installed on a normal computer and display.

From a class perspective, DNV GL regards computers used in this way as navigational equipment, and thus need to be compliant with SOLAS Regulation V/18.2 which lays down certain performance standards.

Until such time as the gaps in the rules are closed, DNV GL-classed vessels should ensure that the computer and display used should be designed to meet the requirements given by SOLAS V/17 (EMC), IEC60945 9.2 Conducted emissions and 9.3 Radiated emissions. In general, the equipment used should at least have been tested for EMC, and evidence of this provided for acceptance by class.

The guidance concludes that in any case, any flag state requirements which might be given are to be observed.

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