Austerity cuts into nautical charts printing
THE HAGUE _ Citing austerity, the Royal Netherlands Navy is cutting back on the production of its popular navigational charts. In 2013, the navy’s hydrographic service will only print offshore charts for the North Sea and Wadden Sea. And they will not go on sale until summer. No 2013 editions at all will be printed of charts covering inland waterways and lakes, including the busy Westerschelde approach to the Belgian inland port of Antwerp.
The hydrographic service said in the years ahead will print some charts only once every 2 or 3 years. The navy urges boaters to update their charts using its weekly ‘Notices to Mariners’ service. The cutback has led to questions in parliament. Like this one: Why print a chart (for 2013) when the year will be half gone? Especially a year that _ per Aug. 1 _ will see major changes in offshore traffic lanes due to planned construction of new wind parks in the North Sea.