Hydrographic Offices Taking Measures Related to the Coronavirus Pandemic - 26/03/2020


Several hydrographic offices have announced that they will take measures related to the coronavirus pandemic. The French Hydrographic Office (SHOM) said that with effect from Wednesday 18 March, no updates – including Notices to Mariners, Standard Nautical Chart (SNC), New Editions and ENC updates – will be made to their products, meaning that ENC charts starting with the country identifier FR will not receive updates until further notice. Caution is advised when using these products for navigation. NAVAREA warnings will be used by France to issue the most critical navigational information, SHOM stated.

Philippines Hydrographic Office

The Philippines Hydrographic Office has announced that, due to the recent government imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine for the whole island of Luzon, the NAMRIA - Hydrography Branch will stop its regular activities until further notice. Navigational Warnings and monthly Notices to Mariners will still be issued in order to ensure the safety of navigation.

UK Hydrographic Office

The UK Hydrographic Office has stopped all travel to affected areas, in line with the latest guidelines received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It will continue to review its travel activities accordingly. The UKHO website states: "In line with the UK government’s recommendations and advice on containing the outbreak of COVID-19, we would like to reassure our customers, distributors and wider stakeholders that UKHO is working hard to minimize disruption to products and services."

“We would like to stress that the business continuity plans and remote working capabilities at the UKHO are looking to keep disruption to a minimum and they are still working to ensure they fulfil their defence and safety obligation and they are still issuing NMs. All updates are being produced as per normal”, a spokesman adds on behalf of the UKHO.

Swedish Maritime Administration

The Swedish Maritime Administration has taken several preventive measures to continue to secure both safe and secure shipping. Its SAR operations (Search and Rescue) continue to function well across the country. The same assessment is also made for the Swedish Maritime Administration's pilot operations. If there is a suspected infection on board, it must be reported to the Coast Guard. In the case of suspected infection, this must also be notified when ordering a pilot. The Swedish Maritime Administration continues its ongoing work with various types of risk assessments for its operations and has continuous contact with other authorities.

The Swedish Hydrographic Office, organized within the Swedish Maritime Administration, has a continuity plan in place to ensure continuous delivery of navigational warnings, Notices to Mariners, Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC) and paper charts with minimized disruption. 1 July 2020 new routeing measures in Skagerrak and Kattegat will be established. In cooperation with the Danish Hydrographic Office, we will secure that all necessary deliveries of updated navigational products (ENCs and paper charts) will be published and distributed to secure the establishment of this new routeing system.

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Last updated: 08/04/2020