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SOLAS – New AIS Annual Test Requirement

From 1 July 2012, all vessels fitted with an AIS to have their AIS equipment tested annually Operators are reminded that as from 1 July 2012, all vessels fitted with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) will be required to have their AIS equipment tested annually. The test should be conducted during the first Passenger Ship Safety, Cargo Ship Safety Equipment, Cargo Ship Safety Radio or Cargo Ship Safety Certificate survey (as applicable) after 1 July 2012. The survey is to be carried out by a qualified inspector authorised by the Administration or Recognised Organisation.The new requirement is set out in IMO Resolution MSC.308(88) under new regulation 18.9 to Chapter V of SOLAS which states:"The automatic identification system (AIS) shall be subject to an annual test. The test shall be conducted by an approved surveyor or an approved testing or servicing facility. The test shall verify the correct programming of the ship static information, correct data exchange with connected sensors as well as verifying the radio performance by radio frequency measurement and on-air test using, e.g., a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). A copy of the test report shall be retained on board the ship".Further information on the testing of AIS units ...

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Icebergs, penguins and ships from space

Satellite technology provides accurate information about life on Earth From tracking icebergs in the Arctic to counting penguins in Antarctica, satellite technology continues to provide ever more detailed and accurate information about life - and its risks - on Earth.Improvements in data-acquisition and more sophisticated software mean that even in crowded shipping lanes it is easier to single out an individual ship and an Emperor penguin can be distinguished from a shadow on the ice. With miniaturised satellites now available, the much lower costs involved have helped launch a swarm of such space-based monitors feeding data to scientists, governments and commercial interests.The pros and cons of satellites have been recently identified in the detection of icebergs in the North Atlantic region where the Titanic had its fateful encounter. The International Ice Patrol (IIP), the iceberg-monitoring service that was established following the disaster 100 years ago, is currently evaluating them and, while they offer a cheaper version than that provided by aerial surveillance, they have yet to pass the test with flying colours.The IIP found radar-based satellite surveillance had failed to meet its demanding requirements, with one of the main problems the inability to detect small icebergs. Getting satellites to distinguish ...

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India: VTS for the Gulf of Kachchh to the Nation DGLL to Launch AIS for Tracking Vessels

To increase shipping efficiency and maritime security Union Shipping Minister Sh. Vasan has dedicated the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) for the Gulf of Kachchh to the nation, at Kandla Port in Gujarat today. The concept, design and implementation of the entire scheme were done by the Directorate General of Lighthouses & Lightships (DGLL) team, under the Ministry of Shipping. VTS is a co-ordinated measure and services of a number of sensors like Radars, Automatic Identification System (AIS), etc. and they all are integrated to develop an overall scenario by which appropriate advice can be given to the Master of the vessel. This will help in improving waterways and harbour management, increase shipping efficiency and above all help the regulatory authorities and security agencies in detecting unlawful activities and anti national activities.Sh. Vasan said in his inaugural speech that establishment of a VTS for the Gulf of Kachchh had been a long felt need though the completion was delayed due to difficult terrain and logistical challenges. The scheme has been implemented at a cost of about Rs.165 crore, with 50 per cent contribution from DGLL, 25 per cent from Gujarat State Maritime Board and 25 per cent from Kandla Port Trust.The ...

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First marine AIS testing service in UK

Testing is performed to ensure that products are able to communicate with any other AIS equipment TÜV SÜD Product Service has launched what it says is the UK's first Automatic Identification System (AIS) testing service for the marine industry, and one of only two such services available worldwide.Testing is performed to ensure that products are able to communicate with any other AIS equipment and are also compatible with other marine communications and navigation equipment.TÜV SÜD says it can also certify AIS and other marine products against the requirements of the Marine Equipment Directive through its notified body, TÜV SÜD BABT."TÜV SÜD is now bringing choice to the market, ending the monopoly situation that the marine equipment industry has suffered," said Jean-Louis Evans, managing director of TÜV SÜD Product Service."Our commercial understanding means that we recognise the pressure manufacturers are under to get their new products on the market and a nine month backlog was obviously unacceptable. Feedback from our customers is that the launch of an alternative AIS service is long overdue for the marine industry."The service will be available to customers via TÜV SÜD's 45 locations in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.Source: Digital Ship

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IMO workshop on maritime safety held in Panama

Participation of 32 countries in the region A regional workshop on maritime safety and the LRIT satellite long distance monitoring system was held for five days with the participation of 32 countries in the region.Participants learned about the latest developments in technology relating to maritime safety, the automatic identification system (AIS), ship security, alarm system (SSAS) and Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) with an exchange of experiences on implementation of the provisions of Chapter X1-2 and the ISPS Code, the evolution of electronic navigation, among other topics.This workshop was inaugurated by the Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority, Roberto Linares, accompanied by Sascha Pristron of the IMO, in Panama City on December 5.Source: The Bulletin Panama

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New AIS requirements

rRquirements for testing the correct data exchange MSC 88 adopted amendments to SOLAS regulation V/18 regarding the annual testing of the automatic identification system (AIS) in 2010. As a result, a new regulation (SOLAS V/18.9) was introduced by MSC 308 (88) and adopted on 3 December 2010.SOLAS Chapter V regulation 18.9 "The automatic identification system (AIS) shall be subjected to an annual test. The test shall be conducted by an approved surveyor or an approved testing or servicing facility. The test shall verify the correct programming of the ship static information, correct data exchange with connected sensors as well as verifying the radio performance by radio frequency measurement and on-air test using, e.g., a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). A copy of the test report shall be retained on board the ship."The date on which the annual testing of AIS enters into force is 1 July 2012, and the tests may be carried out in connection with the ship's annual safety radio (CRC) or safety equipment (CEC) survey.Approval of AIS service suppliers The new regulation implies special requirements for surveyors since testing the correct data exchange with connected sensors and on-air radio tests requires both special AIS test equipment and specific ...

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Norway’s AIS satellite enhances marine safety

AISSat-1 satellite receives and forwards AIS messages from ships With payload developed by Kongsberg Seatex AS, Norway's AISSat-1 satellite was launched successfully from India last week.It has already begun transmitting AIS messages from space to earth via Kongsberg Satellite Services' ground station at Svalbard.AISSat-1 is an experimental satellite, equipped with a Kongsberg Seatex payload that receives and forwards AIS messages from ships. Using the technology in a fully developed system will improve safety at sea for vessels in Norwegian waters. It will make it easier to identify and coordinate vessels in search and rescue operations as well as assist and monitor the transport of dangerous goods and cargo in the high north.AISSat-1 is equipped with technology developed and built in cooperation between the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, Kongsberg Seatex, the Norwegian Coastal Administration and the Norwegian Space Centre. It is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry. Kongsberg Satellite Services' ground station at Svalbard is used for communication.'The satellite is an example on how the long term focus on Norwegian expertise creates good, innovative high technology solutions, tailor made for Norwegian conditions', said Trond Giske, Minister of Trade and Industry.AISSat-1 was launched in an Indian PSLV rocket from ...

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India presses ahead with VTMS installations

VTMS will include Radar and AIS technology The Indian Minister of Shipping has stated that the country has developed a new Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS), to overcome the problems of congestion and collision in its ports and minimise accidents.The Union Minister of Shipping, Shri G.K. Vasan, made the statement in a supplementary reply to a question in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India.The VTMS will include Radar and Automatic Identification System (AIS) technology, supplemented by meteorological and hydrological sensors, and communication links that will be used to provide an overview of Indian maritime traffic.The VTMS will apply to port channels at Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Kolkata, Cochin, New Mangalore and Mormugao.VTMS will also monitor traffic in the Kutch region, which will include vessels bound for Kandla, while installation of VTMS technology is said to be "in progress" at Chennai Port.Similarly, Visakhaptnam, Tuticorin, Paradip and Ennore will all install VTMS "shortly", according to the Minister, and will use GPS, Radar and AIS to manage traffic in the interim.Source: The Digital Ship

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The rocky road to e-navigation

In addition to advantages, the use of ECDIS is accompanied by potential pitfalls Nobody could ever deny that electronics have provided a huge boon to the shipping industry and its safety. The comforting ability to employ satellites to provide accurate positions, regardless of weather conditions or the distance from land makes shipping more precise and far safer than it was, when a landfall after an ocean passage with no celestial observations was fraught with doubts about the accuracy of the dead reckoning.The arrival of the electronic chart display system (ECDIS) is but the latest stage in this progression, and those who have spent hours correcting their world folios by hand are grateful for the transition. At the same time, just as every technological advance has provided misunderstandings in addition to advantages, the use of ECDIS is accompanied by snares and potential pitfalls for the unwary (and untrained).Just as the "radar assisted" collisions demonstrated the importance of proper theoretical and practical training in the use of the new device, and every advance from ship to ship VHF communication to AIS has seen its share of accidents contributed to by improper use of the equipment, so a number of accidents have shown ...

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AIS reliance may lead to complacency

Warning for negligence of first principles It is a sad fact that virtually every new advance in navigation has brought with it a number of accidents which have been contributed to by inappropriate use of the new equipment, usually because of the neglect of first principles.The term "radar assisted collision" became well-known in the early days of commercial radar and in more recent years, the facility of inter-ship VHF, automated radar plotting aids and sophisticated integrated navigation systems involving computers have all contributed to expensive mistakes, often because of either complacency or inadequate training in the new equipment, which have permitted bad habits to form! The emergence of the Automated Identification System is, without doubt, a great advance, but here too, there is some evidence that its availability to provide useful information on the "other ship" can, like other equipment, lead to complacency. It is also a fact that while it may be a mandatory fixture aboard larger vessels, there are many small leisure and fishing craft which are not so fitted. A fatal accident in the North Sea last year, recently the subject of a report by the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch, provides a salutary warning on the ...

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