April saw the launch of the Admiralty Vector Chart Service (AVCS) at two hugely successful events which signalled the beginning of a new chapter for the UKHO as we move towards delivery of an extended series of digital products and services for the international mariner.
The launch, designed around the theme ‘The Future of Navigation’, took place firstly in Singapore on April 3, followed by London on the April 7 and was the culmination of months of planning and hard work across the UKHO.
Singapore’s magnificent Pan Pacific Hotel played host to the first launch event when UKHO Chief Executive Mike Robinson and UK National Hydrographer Rear Admiral Ian Moncrieff addressed an audience consisting of key representatives from the industry including ShipOwners from the Top 140 Shipping Companies, Managers and figures from Singapore Maritime Port Authority and Foreign Government Hydrographic Offices including Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Mike began the speeches by discussing the drivers behind the development of AVCS and stressed to the gathered audience that, when it goes live on April 17, AVCS will provide a comprehensive world chart series in electronic format that, over time, will become as synonymous with quality and safety as the Admiralty world paper chart series is today.
RAdm Moncrieff paid tribute to our international partners and the role they have played, and will continue to play, in the development of AVCS, saying: “AVCS brings together the widest official and quality Electronic Navigational Chart coverage from the world’s Hydrographic Offices (and this) has been made possible only through the co-operation and support of these offices.”
Following the speeches, guests were invited to experience first-hand AVCS in action, with one to one demonstrations by UKHO colleagues Don Leslie, John Dawson and Jason Scholey, prompting lively discussion and much enthusiasm about the features and benefits of the service.
Mike and RAd Moncrieff were later joined by UKHO Marketing Director John Humphrey as they conducted media interviews with key journalists representing Singapore’s largest daily newspaper, the Business Times and premier trade titles Lloyds List and Fairplay, all of which resulted in stories the next day.
Arriving back in the UK late on Friday evening, the launch team had just 48 hours to recuperate before embarking on the trip to London for the much higher profile second launch.
Held within the inspirational surroundings of The Design Museum, the London event focussed primarily on key industry influencers and commentators including VIPs from the International Hydrographic Organisation, and industry bodies such as the Baltic and International Maritime Council, the Oil Companies International Marine Forum, InterTanko and the Chamber of Shipping.
The event largely followed a similar format to the Singapore launch, with the addition of a short address by Chairman David Palmer, who had just returned from a three day voyage on board the super liner P&O Ventura. David spoke of how he had watched AVCS in action and reiterated the point that AVCS really is ‘the future’.
Mike and RAd Moncrieff also hosted a press conference with journalists from Lloyds List, Safety at Sea International, Fairplay, Tanker Operator and a number of freelancers.
As in Singapore, the AVCS demonstrations proved extremely popular with a wide array of questions from guests and press alike, and an equally wide array of positive comments. Every launch attendee was given a box containing a specially designed min-brochure and a USB stick containing the AVCS ‘Sting’, and a short film depicting the AVCS Trials.
Following the launches, Commercial PR Manager Emma Jones, said: “Both launches achieved exactly what we were looking for: the quality of attendees was extremely high, the venues fitted the theme of the launches perfectly and all target journalists and media attended.
“Above all, we demonstrated on a global scale what AVCS means, not only about our belief in AVCS, but we also strengthened the message that the safety of the international mariner is at the heart of everything we do.”
Head of Marketing Don Leslie said: “The AVCS Launches were a great achievement for us but it doesn’t stop there Over the next few months we’ll roll out a new, improved website and a full-service Communications programme in support of the distributor network and the UKHO sales team.”