London P&I Club raises alarm over out-of-date charts



The London P&I Club has raised concern that out-of-date onboard charts and other nautical publications are continuing to prove a contributory cause of shipping accidents, despite requirements laid down by international legislation.

On receiving reports from P&I ship inspectors that the charts or other nautical publications on an entered ship are out of date, including the review of two recent incidents, the Club has placed great emphasis on why compliance with the requirement is imperative.

Despite the fact that the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires that, ‘All ships should carry adequate and up-to-date charts, sailing directions, lists of lights, notices to mariners, tide tables, and all other nautical publications necessary for the intended voyage,’ overt negligence of the legislation is a disconcerting issue for the industry.

Revealing that in one instance, a telecommunications company alleged that a submarine cable had been damaged by a ship’s anchor, the Club, in appointing a surveyor, established that “the ship had anchored directly over the cable but that the bridge team had been completely unaware of the hazard beneath them.

“The surveyor identified that the ship had used an old edition of the chart, which predated the laying of the cable. Apparently, on preparing the passage plan, the second officer had not checked that he had the current edition of the chart.

“In the second case, the investigation into the circumstances in which a ship suffered damage as it struck a hazardous wreck confirmed that the current edition of the chart was in use but that it had not been properly corrected. A chart correction showing the wreck had been issued some three years previously,” the Club warned.