Navy Completes Electronic Navigational Charting for Australia

A highly significant Navy contribution to Australian trade and environmental protection was completed this year when the Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS) achieved Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) coverage for Australian waters. This achievement is the culmination of an “Accelerated ENC Project” which has modernised the entire chart portfolio and produced approximately 900 ENCs covering ports and major shipping lanes.

This achievement comes ahead of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) mandate for compulsory carriage of ENCs through a phased adoption from July 2012 to 2018.  Worldwide, devastating international shipping incidents still occur and the increased vessel sizes mean reduced margins for error. The IMO determined that the use of the smart data in ENCs, in combination with real-time positioning and computer based navigation systems, will lead to at least a 30% reduction in groundings. 

The Australian ENC services include all updates embedded in every ENC.   This will deliver time and cost savings for all masters and navigators, as unlike paper charts, there is no need to manually apply an average of 1,300 Australian Notices to Mariners annually.

Australian Electronic Navigation Charts will soon be available via two primary distribution methods tailored for both international and domestic commercial mariners.

To ensure that ENCs are widely available to the domestic market the AHS is launching a new ENC service – known as “AusENC” – through selected chart agents which will be officially launched on United Nations World Hydrography Dayon 21 June.   This service is intended to support vessels operating within Australian and Papua New Guinea waters through simple ordering and easy availability.   The AusENC service complements the international distribution service available via the International Centre for ENC (IC-ENC) and its world-wide distribution network.

The Royal Australian Navy’s Australian Hydrographic Service directly supports Australia’s critically important maritime trade and fulfils Australia’s international obligation to publish official nautical charts and other hydrographic information to enable safe navigation.

ENCs and updated paper charts will enable improved safety of navigation for import and export vessels transporting the goods that Australia relies upon.  This improvement to navigation safety will also enhance protection of the environmentally sensitive sea areas on our trade routes, including the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef, through an anticipated reduction in groundings.