The UK Maritime Pilots’ Association has issued a cautionary tale about changes to the ship routeing systems in the Southern North Sea

In early 2013 public announcements were made to inform mariners regarding substantial changes to be made to the traffic routeing systems within the Netherlands part of the Southern North Sea.

These changes had been approved by the IMO, the body responsible for establishing international ship routeing measures and authorising such alterations.

It was announced that major revisions would be made to the Maas approach TSS, a new TSS would be established off the Ijmuiden approach area and changes would be made to some of the designated anchorage areas with new ones being established.

Because of the large extent of the changes being implemented it was deemed necessary for a number of new paper admiralty charts to be issued.

The well-established procedure for the implementation of new editions of charts in such circumstances is contained within “Notice 17/13 of the Admiralty Annual Summary of notice to mariners Part1“.

In short it explains that “new editions will be published 4 to 8 weeks prior to the implementation date of the changes.  The existing charts carried onboard will be renumbered with an X prefix to easily distinguish them from the new editions”.

The intention being that vessels continue to use the X version of the chart until the implementation date of the changes to be carried out, it may also be necessary during the short life of the X version to carry out chart corrections which affect the chart. In February 2013 the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment published a pamphlet “North Sea Route Change”, which gave full details including a chartlet explaining how, when and why the implementations would take place.