Here is the first part, if I am reading it correctly it says that for ships to which this policy applies meeting SOLAS requirements for ECDIS is ok.
For ships to which this policy applies,
when an amendment to chapter V and
a provision in Coast Guard regulations
address the same navigational safety
concern and when applying both would
result in an unnecessary duplication,
the Coast Guard will accept the
provision under chapter V as meeting
the corresponding Coast Guard
regulation. In other words, if a ship has
an approved ECDIS installed according
to chapter V, the ECDIS will be
considered by the Coast Guard as
meeting its nautical chart regulation in
33 CFR 164.33(a)(1), since the ECDIS
meets the same navigational safety
concerns as do paper nautical charts.
This policy benefits the ship owner
operator by relieving them of the need
Here are the ships that the policy applies to:
What Ships Are Affected?
This policy applies to the following ships, which are subject to the amendments to chapter V:
1. U.S.-flag ships of 150 or more gross tonnage that engage on international voyages.
2. U.S.-flag ships certificated solely for service on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River as far east as a straight line drawn from Cap de Rosiers to West Point, Anticosti Island, and, on the north side of Anticosti Island, the 63rd Meridian.
3. Foreign-flag ships to which SOLAS, chapter V, applies that are operating on the navigable waters of the United States.
Note that U.S.-flag ships without mechanical means of propulsion are exempt from certain requirements of SOLAS under SOLAS, chapter V, regulation 3.1.
This policy is not applicable to U.S.- flag ships engaged only on domestic voyages. These ships must continue to comply with the existing navigation equipment requirements in titles 33 and 46 CFR.
How Long Will This Policy Remain in Effect?
This policy will remain in effect until titles 33 and 46 CFR are aligned with SOLAS, chapter V.
Dated: July 8, 2004
It specifically says: ]This policy is not applicable to U.S.- flag ships engaged only on domestic voyages. These ships must continue to comply with the existing navigation equipment requirements in titles 33 and 46 CFR
So it looks to me that as of 2004 that the US flag ships on domestic voyages can not meet the requirement to carry charts with an ECDIS. In other words they are required to carry paper charts - as of 2004.
Have the CFRs been updated since then?
This is from 2013. Looks like companies that want to sail paperless can get a waiver.
In 2004, Congress amended the Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972 broadly requiring the use of electronic charts in navigable waters of the U.S., allowing for individual vessel exemptions and waivers, and directed the USCG to implement this addition to the law before 2007 (33 U.S.C. 1223(a)). The USCG implemented portions of the PWSA beginning in 1983 as 33CFR160 with amendments as recent as 2011, but without addressing the use of electronic charts.
In the absence of such rulemaking, the USCG, ironically, is able to grant waivers to allow for paperless navigation by SOLAS classed ships sailing domestically under US flag. The rule that would allow this has been in place (33CFR164.55) since 1977 for navigation safety regulations in general, and since 1951 for waivers of navigational compliance (33CFR19.01). Soon there may be some prominent shipping companies who will make use of this. All of it will impact domestic operators – no matter where and on what platform they sail on.