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What are ECDIS Back-Up Requirements?

ECDIS Back-Up Requirements:

Electronic navigation systems cannot be guaranteed to be 100% failsafe; with this in mind, there must be some form of back-up or redundancy to cover ECDIS failure.

IMO performance standards require the ‘overall system’ to include both a primary ECDIS and an adequate, independent back-up arrangement to ensure the safe takeover of ECDIS functions without resulting in a critical situation. The independent back-up arrangement must allow the safe navigation of the ship for the remaining part of the voyage in case of ECDIS failure.

The flag state must approve the ECDIS back-up arrangement to ensure it is in accordance with IMO performance standards; however, some flag states may delegate the ECDIS approval process to a recognised organisation.

The following back-up options are generally accepted as meeting SOLAS carriage requirements: 

  1. For ships using ECDIS as their primary means of navigation (no paper charts), an additional and independent ECDIS shall be provided as a back-up. The backup ECDIS should be connected to an independent power supply and connected to systems providing continuous position-fixing capability. When the ECDIS is being operated in Raster Chart Display System (RCDS) mode using RNC data due to lack of suitable coverage of electronic navigational charts (ENC), then an appropriate folio of up-to-date paper charts must be maintained for areas where only raster chart coverage is available.
  1. For ships using ECDIS as an aid to navigation, the ship must carry and maintain an appropriate folio of up-to-date paper charts. The ECDIS should be able to operate in a normal capacity even when it is connected and supplied by an emergency source of electrical power. Change over from one source of power supply to another, including any interruptions in electrical supply should not require the equipment to be manually reinitialised for a period of 45 seconds.

ECDIS backup

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