Accepted Publications in Electronic Format:
The Maritime Safety Committee, at its 81st session (10 to 19 May 2006), and the Marine Environment
Protection Committee, at its 53rd session (18 to 22 July 2005), gave guidance on the carriage of
publications on board ships, and approved the IMO requirements on carriage of publications on
board ships as follows:
Publications may be carried on board ship in the form of electronic media such as a CD in lieu of
hard copies. Acceptable publications in electronic form should be those issued by IMO or an
Administration or a body authorized by an Administration to ensure correctness of their contents
and to safeguard against illegal copying. A medium could either contain a publication or as many
publications as possible. In any case, the media should be treated in accordance with the document
control procedures in the ship’s Safety Management System (SMS) including procedures for timely
Requirements for Digital Products Carried On Board Ship:
Many flag States have now issued guidance on the carriage of digital products. Such guidance will
make reference to the main computer and the back-up arrangements provided on board.
Guidance for the main computer will typically state that the digital publications should be installed
on a computer that is always connected to both the main and an emergency source of power.
With regard to the back-up arrangements, a statement will be given that adequate back-up must be
provided. How this is implemented depends on the requirements of the flag State, but is generally
one of the following:
• Already installed on at least one other back up computer on board.
• Can be installed on another computer on board, within a short period of time.
• Available on a CD, portable storage device, or second unlock code.
Situations where a Back-up License is no Longer Available On Board:
Where a ship no longer has an available back-up license on board (because the back-up license
has been used or the respective computer crashed or was replaced), it must make provision to
obtain a replacement back-up license to comply with flag State guidance as outlined above.
A replacement back-up license unlock code (for one use only) may be purchased at 50% of the
RRP of the product(s) concerned. This code will unlock the data provided on the original CD
(either the IMO Bookshelf or Seamanship Library).