Improper Digital Chart Leads Vessel to Run Aground



On 13 May 2017, the Maltese registered bulk carrier Universal Durban, while on passage from Bell Bay, Tasmania to Bintulu, Malaysia, ran aground on a shoal at 12 knots, South of the island of Pulau Serasan in position 02° 14.65ʹ N 109° 05.17ʹ E.

The vessel sustained minor damages in the bow area and bottom shell plating, in way of no. 1 cargo hold. No damage was found in the internal structures and the vessel’s watertight integrity was not breached. There was no pollution and no injuries were reported.

A safety recommendation has been made to the East Asia Hydrographic Commission, with the aim to improve safety of navigation of vessels using digital charts.

Probable Cause

The safety investigation revealed that the scale of digital chart in use on ECDIS was unsuitable for the area and the quality of data encoded within the composite data quality attribute of that chart was not within the thresholds defined by the category of zone of confidence.

Actions Taken

In order to prevent a recurrence of the accident, the Company has changed the ECDIS chart licenses with the chart supplier. The Company has now opted for a pay-asyou-go licence which will now ensure that all charts are on board and no charts are ‘lost’ during the ordering process.

Datema Delfzijl B. V. has confirmed that with the development of the new version of its Chartplanner software, the findings of the safety investigation report will be taken into consideration a decision will be taken as to whether a forewarning needs to be built in the software.


  1. ENC ID300428 was inadvertently deleted while preparing an Order File on Chartplanner;
  2. No warning of the deletion had been triggered;
  3. A small scale chart, designated ‘general’ in the navigational purpose band, was displayed on ECDIS;
  4. The passage plan prepared by the navigational officer deviated from the designated ASL for the Indonesian Archipelago;
  5. There was no evidence of reference to the Admiralty Sailing Directions prior to laying courses in Alur Pelayaran Serasan;
  6. ECDIS auto-scan route check triggered no navigational warning within the safety zone defined by the XTD and safe water depth/contour settings;
  7. Visual route check by the OOW was cursory and the master did not crosscheck the passage on ECDIS;
  8. Digital chart permits received from Datema were not checked before uploaded to ECDIS;
  9. Significant positional and depth anomalies were noticed on ENC EA200003 in an area North of Pulau Merundung.


The East Asia Hydrographic Commission is recommended to:

  • Review the ENC production process in order to ensure that CATZOCs are populated with meaningful values, commensurate with quality of data survey.

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Source: Transport Malta


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