Defence’s Australian Hydrographic Office has released major updates to three official electronic navigational charts, improving accuracy and enhancing navigational safety for shipping and commercial vessels in the Torres Strait.

The updated charts are the result of a single continuous survey of the Torres Strait Under Keel Clearance Management (UKCM) area, conducted as part of Defence’s $150 million, four-year Hydrographic Industry Partnership Program (HIPP).

Commodore Stewart Dunne, Hydrographer of Australia, said navigating the Torres Strait could be a challenge for mariners. “The Torres Strait is a critical shipping trade route for the Australian economy, but its complex tides, strong tidal streams and highly mobile seafloor can pose significant risks to mariners,” he said. “With these updates to the electronic navigational charts, the position accuracy is now 1.0m and the depth accuracy is 0.35m, which are major improvements. Mariners transiting through the Torres Strait now have access to the most accurate data, increasing mariner confidence and overall vessel safety. This new, better quality data decreases the risk of grounding incidents and therefore enhances protection of the marine environment.”

The Australian Hydrographic Office processed the data captured in the Torres Strait UKCM survey and applied it to electronic navigational charts AU5TIS01, AU411141 and AU411142, and will subsequently update relevant paper charts. The survey data also underpins the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) UKCM System for the Torres Strait. The Australian Hydrographic Office is Australia’s nautical charting authority and is responsible under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, and the Australian Navigation Act, to provide Australia’s hydrographic and nautical charting products and services.

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