'Pst... Wanna Buy a Cheap Chart?'
The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) sees an increase in the number of counterfeit versions of its Admiralty charts & publications.
Counterfeit documents do not satisfy SOLAS carriage requirements, as they have not been issued by an officially approved government body or authorised hydrographic office. They may also fall foul of Flag State Authorities and Port State Control rules, as well as increasing the safety risk for vessels, crews and cargoes.
UKHO's John Dawson said: ‘We urge purchasers, users, inspectors and regulators to be vigilant for counterfeit Admiralty charts and publications. Because counterfeit versions have not been through the same rigorous checking procedures as official charts and publications, they cannot be trusted for voyage planning or navigational purposes. Therefore their use poses a serious risk to vessel safety.’
‘We are actively seeking to stop the production and sale of counterfeit copies of our charts and publications and have raised our concerns with IMO, the IHO and Flag States. We also encourage anyone that suspects they may be in possession of counterfeit products to get in touch with us.’
UKHO has produced a guide to help users and inspectors to distinguish official and counterfeit products. Official Admiralty charts bear the Admiralty ‘Flying A’ watermark within the paper and will carry a ‘thumb label’ strip on the reverse with the Admiralty logo, chart number, geographical area, barcode and date.
Suspect charts and publications can also be identified by comparing them against official Admiralty versions, where variations may be spotted in the look, feel and weight of the product, the colour tone and strength of the ink, the folds on charts and the height and binding quality of publications.