019/16/Gen.Inf. Under Keel Clearance Management in Torres Strait


AMSA has issued a Marine Notice to outlines management framework for UKCM in Torres Strait and to summarise the various responsibilities for UKCM. AMSA would like to remind masters that all coastal pilots transiting ships with draughts of at least 8m through the Prince of Wales Channel, the Gannet Passage or the Varzin Passage are required to use the Under Keel Clearance Management (UKCM) system, implemented by AMSA, when complying with Marine Order 54 (Coastal pilotage) 2014 (MO54).

The UKCM system became operational in 2011 for use in the Prince of Wales Channel and both Gannet and Varzin Passages. The UKCM system contributes to safe marine navigation which facilitates the protection of the marine environment and enhances the safety and efficiency of transiting vessels.

The purpose of the UKCM system is to ensure that the best possible under keel clearance information, updated in real time, is available to assist in the planning and safe conduct of vessel transits.

The UKCM system is a web-based aid to navigation (AtoN) for use by ships’ masters, pilotage providers and licensed coastal pilots. When a successful UKCM transit plan has been calculated, coastal pilots can also save and print the plan for use and wider promulgation. This hardcopy printed plan is to be used in the event of any potential loss of connectivity to the web-based system during any UKCM transit.

Further technical and explanatory information can be found on the AMSA website

Area of Operation

The UKCM system is designed to cover navigable ship routes between the longitudes of 141 degrees and 50 minutes east and 142 degrees and 27 minutes east. These routes are defined in MO54. Routes are limited to those areas designated by the Australian Hydrographic Service as having a data quality indicator of Category A Zone of Confidence (ZOC).

UKCM Training

AMSA has introduced a UKCM system Competency Based Training and assessment process. There are two on-line training programs available; one specifically designed for pilots, pilot providers and REEFVTS Operators; and one designed for use by planners, masters, pilot launch operators and other approved users. The training for pilots includes a one-on-one competency assessment with an AMSA assessor.

The on-line training programs can be accessed through the AMSA Coastal Pilotage e-learning portal

UKCM system access

Access to the UKCM system is available for approved users through a vetted registration process. To request registration, please follow the registration application process available here



Thank you & Best Regards,

Eng. Dimitrios Nikolaos Spanos
Lead Maritime Auditor / Principal Surveyor
Member of IRCA, IIMS, ELINT, HELMEPA & Nautical Institute

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