This document was issued on 1 April 2023 and is addressed to all ship owners, operators, masters and officers of merchant ships, and recognized organizations.
The Master must ensure that before proceeding to sea, in accordance with SOLAS V/34, the intended voyage has been planned, taking into account IMO guidelines.
This Guideline assists Companies in developing and improving voyage planning procedures for ships.
It highlights the voyage planning provisions of various International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions and codes and incorporates industry guidance on the issue.
It supersedes Rev. Nov/2021 and has been updated to include a new §2.5 for areas where paper nautical charts may no longer be available.
This Guideline applies to all operators and watch standers of RMI-flagged vessels.
1.0 Voyage planning
1.1 SOLAS V/34.2 requires the voyage plan to identify a route which:
.1 takes into account any relevant ships' routing systems;
.2 ensures sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the ship throughout the voyage;
.3 anticipates all known navigational hazards and adverse weather conditions; and
.4 takes into account the marine environmental protection measures that apply and avoids, as far as possible, actions and activities that could cause damage to the environment.
1.2 IMO Resolution A.893(21) has the voyage planning components that enable compliance with SOLAS V/34.2.
.1 appraisal (i.e., gathering all information relevant to the contemplated voyage or passage);
.2 detailed planning of the whole voyage from berth to berth, including areas where a pilot is needed;
.3 plan execution; and
.4 monitoring the vessel's progress in implementing the plan.
2.0 Regional Constraints
2.1 Passenger ships operating in remote areas should supplement the voyage planning components in A.893(21) with the factors identified in A.999(25).
2.2 As per MN 2-011-52*, vessels planning a voyage in Arctic or Antarctic waters must meet the requirements of the Polar Code, Chapter 11, part I-A.
*The Administrator applies SOLAS Chapter V voyage planning requirements to all ships and voyages in accordance with the Safety Navigation Regulations in the Republic of the Marshall Islands Maritime Regulations (hereinafter "Maritime Regulations), §2.11.
2.3 As per MN 2-011-39, ships planning a voyage to High-Risk Areas must plan for security risks appropriately.
2.4 Fuel changeover procedures for Emission Control Areas must be considered during passage planning. See MN 2-013-8.
2.5 When paper nautical charts are the primary means of navigation for a vessel's area of operation and they are no longer available through the common providers**, compliance may be met by:
.1 obtaining alternative approved charts. This could be directly from the hydrographic office of a coastal state or a Nautical Chart Service; or
.2 installing an electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS).
Should an ECDIS be installed and used as the primary means of navigation, then the Master and officer in charge of a navigational watch must undergo ECDIS training per applicable SOLAS and STCW requirements, regardless of the vessel's size or type. See Marine Notice 7-041-6.
**For example, Admiralty products from the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO)
3.0 Watchkeeping arrangements and principles
STCW Part A/VIII/2, PART 2 requires a voyage plan to be:
3.1 drawn up by competent navigational officers in charge of a watch before any voyage commences;
3.2 continuously displayed and verified; and
3.3 amended before deviating substantially from the original route.