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Miscellaneous Notices to Mariners

1 Important attachments to the Efs

The attachments will be published in their entirety in the first edition of the Norwegian Notices to Mariners, Etterretninger for sjøfarende (Efs), every year.

It is important that you as seafarers regularly read these attachments, as changes may occur.

The Norwegian Hydrographic Service emphasizes that the complete pdf version of the Efs is the official document. Professional users/subscribers are responsible for downloading the latest pdf version of the Efs from the Internet service at

Quality in Norwegian Charts and Electronic Charts

The Norwegian Hydrographic Service aims to provide charts of the entire Norwegian coast based on modern source data. In Hordaland and the northern part of Norway there are still charts partly based on surveys that are up to 100 years old. To conduct new surveys and provide modern charts of these areas has high priority.

Quality of Norwegian Charts and Electronic Charts in the Waters Around Svalbard

Uncritical use of older charts and modern positioning systems (like GPS) can, because of discrepancies etc. related to the datum, lead to serious mistakes (several hundred meters) during navigation. This further means that the safety margin that sailors should always apply may not be in place as expected.

In some of the older charts, information is given showing the displacement between the graticule of the chart and the World Geodetic System (WGS-84).

New charts for the area are made in accordance to the World Geodetic System (WGS84), while new prints of the older charts retain the existing graticule.

The Norwegian Hydrographic Service reminds the users that the paper charts in the area are on a scale of 1:100 000 or less, and that these charts often form the basis for electronic charts over these waters.

For general information about the quality of the charts around Svalbard, reference is made to The Norwegian Pilot, Volume 7 and the information given in each chart.

The users should be aware that all given corrections (shifts in datum) must be considered to be approximate. The coastline can have considerable discrepancies when compared to the graticule of the chart. Furthermore, the lines of survey for these waters are spaced out to such a degree that the occurrence of undiscovered shoals and rocks cannot be excluded.

Accordingly, navigation in these waters requires extra caution. The navigator should, in keeping with established navigational traditions, use all accessible navigation aids (including radar), continuously compare the observations from the different aids, remain vigilant and ensure that the navigation at all time is carried out applying a sufficient safety margin.

Use of electronic charts does not relieve the navigator from these tasks, and will still require the same professional and critical attitude as with traditional navigation using paper charts.

Changes in glacier fronts and coastline – glaciers used in conjunction with leading lines

The glacier fronts seawards are continually changing. In general, the glacier fronts are receding: observations exist where the glaciers have receded several hundred meters during the last decades.

It is also usual that the glaciers have shorter periods when advancing considerably ("surging glaciers"). Large quantities of ice then move downward from the top of the glacier and collapse below. For this reason contour lines and terrain close to the glacier can deviate from contour lines on the chart. As an example the Fridtjovbreen in van Mijenfjorden advanced about four kilometres from autumn 1995 and the next two and a half years.

In the chart the glacier fronts seawards can refer to a certain year, but such information does not always exist. Changes in the front of a glacier can cause a considerable difference between the existing front and the charted front. In areas where the glacier fronts have receded compared to fronts shown on the chart, no depth information exists.

Also the coastline can change, in particular close to large rivers. The user should bear this in mind and ensure that the utmost care is taken when navigating close to glacier fronts and river estuaries.

Glaciers are in some cases used as a reference in conjunction with leading lines. These can be old and well-known points which have been used for decades. Changes in the form and outline of glaciers might, however, cause changes in the reference point. Where glaciers are used as reference points great care must be taken during the navigation, and it must always be done in conjunction with other navigation aids.

Unsurveyed areas

Surveys are incomplete in some areas of Svalbard. Large areas are not surveyed at all. These areas are presented as white areas limited by a red dashed line and the text "Unsurveyed". We will strongly advise against any navigation in these areas – even if some soundings and underwater rocks are shown. The areas should be referred to as unsurveyed.

Areas inside the 50 meters depth contour in areas with old surveys are not safe. We advise against all navigation in such areas.

In newly surveyed areas of Svalbard, the surveying is performed at depths deeper than 3 meters only. Shallow areas are not surveyed.

Refer to the Warnings and Source diagram in the Charts.

Mixture of old and new depth data

To ensure optimal use of resources, the Norwegian Hydrographic Service has conducted external market research in order to ascertain users' evaluation of how remaining areas should be prioritized. The recommendations are taken into account in the production plans. This means that there will be a mixture of old and new depth data within the same ENC or paper chart.

1.1 Terms Used When Issuing Charts

The following terms are used when referring to the issue of charts. The text is in accordance with the International Hydrographic Organization's (IHO) publication S-4 "Chart Specifications of the IHO", Section B-100, point 128.

New Chart

The New Chart is the first publication of a chart that either:

Embrace an area not previously chartred by that nation to be scale showing.
Embrace an area different from existing chart of that nation
Consist of a modernised version (in terms of symbology an general presentation) of an exixting chart
Consist of the adoption by that nation of an international (INT) or national chart, first published by another nation

A new chart makes existing edition obsolete.

New Edition (NE)

A new edition is a new issue of an existing chart, containing amendments essential to navigation, which may include changes additional to those in the Norwegian Notice to Mariners (Efs).

A new edition will render the existing edition of the chart obsolete.

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