Friday, 25 November 2016


One the funniest consequences of the SOLAS is that some customers started to report decimal values into segment MEA as MEA03:

Assuming that some hectograms may be relevant while stowing a container onto vessel, it's important to remember that, in all the MIG, MEA03 has the below characteristics:

The code n..18 means that this piece of data is a numerical data type with a a maximum length of 18 numbers and 0 number of decimals.

In a nutshell: reporting decimal numbers into MEA03, it should not be considered a good practice.

Edit - 28/11/2016
I have done some extra checks about this topic and it seems that decimal dots are allowed in case of data element with the following characteristics: n..18.

The below information comes from UNECE web page:

10.1 Decimal Mark
The ISO representation for decimal mark is the comma ( , ) but point on the line ( . ) is allowed. See ISO 31/0-1981. Both these characters are part of the Level A and B sets in
clause 5 and both alternatives are allowed. When the Service string advice, UNA, is used, its third character specifies the one character used in the interchange to represent decimal mark and thus overrides the above alternative use. The decimal mark shall not be counted as a character of the value when computing the maximum field length of a data element. However, allowance has to be made for the character in transmission and reception. When a decimal mark is transmitted, there shall be at least one digit before and after the decimal mark. For values represented by integers only, neither decimal mark nor decimal zeroes are used unless there is a need to indicate the degree of precision. 
Preferred  0,5 and 2 and 2,0
Allowed    0.5 and 2 and 2.0
Not allowed:  ,5 or .5 or 2, or 2.

10.2 Triad Separator
Triad separators shall not be used in interchange. 
Allowed: 2500000
Not allowed: 2,500,000 or 2.500.000 or 2 500 000