SRH Feedback No. 5/ 2016

SRH Marine
New revised guidelines for the onboard use of shipborne AIS

On 14 December 2015 IMO has published Resolution A. 1106 (29) that has revoked resolution A. 917 (22) as amended by resolution A. 956 (23). This new resolution has affected SOLAS Regulations V/11, V/12 and V/19 as applicable.

These revised guidelines although have introduced minor changes is recommended to be available onboard and reference to the ship's planned maintenance system for navigational equipment. OOW should be reminded that not all ships carry AIS. The officer of the watch (OOW) should always be aware that other ships, in particular leisure craft, fishing boats and warships, and some coastal shore stations including Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) centres, might not be fitted with AIS. The OOW should always be aware that AIS fitted on other ships as a mandatory carriage requirement might, under certain circumstances, be switched off on the master's professional judgement. Furthermore the AIS is able to detect ships within VHF/FM range around bends and behind islands, if the landmasses are not too high. A typical value to be expected at sea is 20 to 30 nautical miles depending on antenna height.

The OOW should always be aware that other ships, in particular leisure craft, fishing boats and warships, and some coastal shore stations including VTS centres, might not be fitted with AIS. The OOW should always be aware that other ships fitted with AIS as a mandatory carriage requirement might switch off AIS under certain circumstances by professional judgement of the master. In other words, the information given by the AIS may not be a complete picture of the situation around the ship. The users must be aware that transmission of erroneous information implies a risk to other ships as well as their own. The users remain responsible for all information entered into the system and the information added by the sensors. The accuracy of AIS information received is only as good as the accuracy of the AIS information transmitted. The OOW should be aware that poorly configured or calibrated ship sensors (position, speed and heading sensors) might lead to incorrect information being transmitted. Incorrect information about one ship displayed on the bridge of another could be dangerously confusing. If no sensor is installed or if the sensor (e.g. the gyro) fails to provide data, the AIS automatically transmits the "not available" data value. However, the built-in integrity check cannot validate the contents of the data processed by the AIS. It would not be prudent for the OOW to assume that the information received from other ships is of a comparable quality and accuracy to that which might be available on its own ship.

SRH is official provider of AIS brands as those indicated in our web page (www.srhmar.com) and of course is able to verify its proper operation either via our dedicated 24/7 support or during routine attendances onboard for GMDSS Radio Surveys.

This is of major important especially when it comes to ship's dynamic data (dynamic information, which, apart from "Navigational status" information, is automatically updated from the ship sensors connected to AIS;) while verification of static data (static information, which is entered into the AIS on installation and need only be changed if the ship changes its name, Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI), location of the electronic position fixing system (EPFS) antenna, or undergoes a major conversion from one ship type to another) is required. Voyage-related information which is entered manually is more easily to control than the other two where SRH can assist you.