NOAA is on-scene at the site of the BP/Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and experts around the country continue to work with government and private industry partners in responding to the crisis. To support the continuation of maritime commerce, and to help ensure safe and efficient navigation, NOAA is producing nautical chart products that display the spill zone based on current spill projections.
Mariners can access a NOAA Raster Navigational Chart (NOAA RNC®), the NOAA Electronic Navigational Chart (NOAA ENC®), and a Print on Demand Chart with spill projections. The raster and electronic charts are available from Coast Survey’s chart downloader website. Access ENC cell numbers US2GC12M, US2GC14M, US2GC15M, US2GC16M and US1GC09M. RNC 11006, 11360, 11340, and 411 are available here.
Obtain the Print-On-Demand charts from NOAA’s Print-on-Demand agents.
The charts use NOAA Office of Response and Restoration data to display the spill area and the projected trajectory. The general bounding box image is integrated with NOAA Office of Coast Survey data from the ENC. NOAA will update the charts as conditions warrant, and users should check for updates regularly.
The U.S. Coast Guard highly encourages mariners to avoid the spill areas. If uncertain about how to proceed, mariners should contact the USCG for alternate route suggestions.
Waterborne cargo contributes more than $742 billion to the nation’s economy, and NOAA’s chart products support continuing growth in maritime trade.
An explanation of NOAA nautical chart formats
The RNC is a geo-referenced digital image of the traditional NOAA paper chart. Because the images are geo-referenced, a mariner can display the vessel’s position on the chart image if he or she is using a computer-based navigation system connected to a global positioning system (GPS). Anyone can download free RNCs from the Coast Survey website.
The ENC is NOAA’s most powerful charting product. Produced from a vector database of features, it supports real-time navigation. A navigation system using an ENC “knows” when the vessel is approaching charted underwater danger, and can sound an alarm if the vessel’s projected course carries it close to the dangerous feature.
Print-on-Demand charts are like traditional paper nautical charts except that NOAA cartographers use graphics software and computers to update the charts quickly and create new editions. NOAA does not sell these charts directly to the public; rather, they are available through NOAA's commercial partner OceanGrafix, who has retail agents located throughout the U.S. and overseas.
NOAA Office of Coast Survey: http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov
Locate NOAA nautical chart agents: www.oceangrafix.com/o.g/NOAA-Nautical-Chart-Agents.html
NOAA Office of Response and Restoration, Deepwater Horizon Incident: http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/deepwaterhorizon/