From Maritime Executive
The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has reported a rising number of counterfeit copies of charts and publications, and has issued a reminder that the use of unauthorized, unvalidated information may be unlawful and dangerous.
The counterfeit Admiralty products haven't been reviewed by UKHO's staff, who ensure the quality of charts and publications widely used for navigation around the world, and the content doesn't necessarily come from any relevant government source or hydrographic office.
Its use for navigation could be hazardous, UKHO says.
In addition, fake charts do not satisfy SOLAS carriage requirements, and may violate the laws of flag and port state authorities, plus international copyright laws.
In nations which are signatory to the Berne Convention on intellectual property rights, authorities have the ability to seize counterfeit documents.
UKHO has issued a guide to identifying counterfeit products, including photos of the originals displayed adjacent to photos of the fakes.
The office suggests that mariners with suspicions about the authenticity of their sailing directions or charts to contact UKHO directly.
Damian Bowler, chief commercial officer of the UKHO, said that “while some of the counterfeits are very easy to spot, others are more difficult to detect.
The UKHO continues to urge all purchasers, users, inspectors and regulators to look out for counterfeit ADMIRALTY charts and publications.
Counterfeit versions . . . cannot be trusted for voyage planning or navigational purposes.
They are unsafe, unofficial, non-compliant with SOLAS and illegal to carry or sell.
Buyers also carry the considerable risk of failing port state inspections.”
“We are continuing to seek and stop the production and sale of counterfeit copies of ADMIRALTY products and have raised our concerns with the International Maritime Organization, the International Hydrographic Organisation and Flag States. We also encourage anyone that suspects they may be in possession of counterfeit products to get in touch with us,” he said.
We are asking users of ADMIRALTY Maritime Products & Services to be aware of counterfeit products that are currently in circulation.
These products have not been issued officially by or on the authority of a Government, authorized Hydrographic Office or other relevant Government institution and do not satisfy the carriage requirements of the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (see Chapter V, Regulations 2.2 and 126.96.36.199 of the Convention).
Furthermore, these counterfeit ADMIRALTY products have not undergone the rigorous checking procedures which take place for official versions; posing a significant safety risk to vessels, crews and cargo.
This simple guide has been provided to help you identify genuine ADMIRALTY products and reduce the risk of counterfeits being used for navigation.
If you do find a counterfeit product, please inform the UKHO by contacting our customer services team.
Details of where and when the product was purchased, photographs and ideally the product itself should be provided to help us identify the source.
Publications published since October 2014 include a certificate of authenticity.
This can be found inside the rear cover of the publication or within the opening pages.
The certificate should be stamped and dated by the issuing Chart Agent to certify it is a genuine ADMIRALTY product.
Publications published since October 2014 include a grey graphic showing the UKHO crest across random pages.
If photocopied, the words ‘ILLEGAL COPY’ will be visible.
Counterfeiters have been known to try
and overcome this by removing the graphic completely, resulting in pages not being numbered.
They may also remove the entire graphic except that part that covers the page number.
In this instance some of the graphic can still be seen, resulting in the page number having a grey background rather than plain white.
ADMIRALTY Charts contain branded watermarks
Genuine charts bear the ADMIRALTY “Flying A” watermark or the new ‘ADMIRALTY’ watermark within the paper. This watermark can be seen by holding the chart up to the light. Once you have identified the watermark on official ADMIRALTY charts, this stock can be compared to any suspicious charts.
Every paper chart contains a thumb label
Every ADMIRALTY chart carries a ‘thumb label’ strip on the reverse of the chart that contains the ADMIRALTY logo, the chart number, the geographic area featured, a barcode and date.
Your ADMIRALTY Chart Agent should have also stamped the chart.
Inconsistent use of colours and paper weights
The ‘look and feel’ of a suspicious chart can be compared to a genuine ADMIRALTY chart.
If the ink on a chart looks to be a different colour tone, weight or feel then it is probably a counterfeit copy (see example above).