“Coast Guard issues warning to mariners turning off AIS” –D13 News Release

Below is a D13 news release. In addition to the normal law enforcement and SAR aspects of AIS use, It is also an essential element of our Maritime Domain Awareness efforts. When a contact is detected without AIS, we may have to make an identification. If we want to know what is approaching our ports, we need vessels to use AIS, so we don’t have to physically sight every vessel. 

united states coast guard

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 13th District PA Detachment Astoria
Contact: Coast Guard PA Detachment Astoria
Office: (503) 861-6380
After Hours: (206) 819-9154
PA Detachment Astoria online newsroom

Coast Guard issues warning to mariners turning off AIS

Petty Officer 2nd Class Enrique Lemos operates in the surf near Winchester Bay, Oregon

Editors’ Note: Click on image to download high resolution version.

ASTORIA, Ore. — The Coast Guard is issuing a warning to mariners and commercial fisherman about the dangers and legal consequences of disabling a vessel’s Automated Identification System.

The Coast Guard has seen an alarming increase of commercial fishing and crabbing vessels disabling their AIS, purportedly in an attempt to keep their fishing spots secret from competition.

“AIS is a vital tool in a host of Coast Guard missions including Search and Rescue and Port Security,” said Lt. Collin Gruin, boarding team supervisor at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “It’s not only illegal to turn it off but also incredibly dangerous.”

AIS is a maritime navigation safety communications system adopted by the international community to help save lives and facilitate safe transit of navigable waterways.

AIS automatically transmits vessel information to shore stations, other ships, and aircraft. That includes vessel identity, type, position, course, speed, navigational status, and safety-related information.

The regulation (33 CFR 164.46) in part states that all self-propelled vessels, at a length of 65-feet or more, engaged in commercial service and operating on the Territorial Seas (within 12-nautical miles of shore) must maintain AIS in effective operating condition, which includes the continual operation of AIS and its associated devices (e.g., positioning system, gyro, converters, displays) at all times while the vessel is underway or at anchor, and, if moored, at least 15 minutes prior to getting underway. Effective operation condition also includes the accurate input and upkeep of all AIS data fields; an AIS encoding guide has been provided to facilitate complying with this requirement.

Violators of this regulation can expect to receive a civil penalty up to a maximum of $35,486 per violation.

“Crabbers may think that they are protecting their businesses, but they are actually making search and rescue efforts more difficult if an emergency happens at sea,” said Gruin.

“Bangladesh, U.S. and regional organizations discuss shared maritime domain awareness goals” –IndoPacificDefenseForum

A report from IndoPacificDefenseForum about an aspect of the CARAT exercise with Bangladesh, with emphasis on Maritime Domain Awareness and Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported fishing.

There is no mention of the Coast Guard, but you can be sure Coast Guardsmen were involved and the vessel, seen in the distance, in the accompanying photo (above) is a former USCG 378, BNS Somudra Avijan, the former USCGC Rush, one of two Hamilton class now serving in the Bangladesh Navy.

“Cooperative Maritime Law Enforcement and Overfishing in the South China Sea” –CIMSEC

Republic of Korea Coast Guard vessel #3006 in company with U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Boutwell (WHEC-719) during the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum in August 2007. This forum was created to increase international maritime safety and security in the Northern Pacific Ocean and its borders. The Boutwell worked with the Korean coast guard while on their way to Yokosuka, Japan. The Japanese coast guard is one of the six nations involved in the forum.

CIMSEC brings us a discussion of the possibility of cooperative fisheries enforcement in the South China Sea to stop both overfishing and Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported (IUU) fishing and perhaps bring China into a more mutually beneficial relationship with her neighbors.

Earlier, I had a suggestion about how we might form an instrument of cooperative enforcement by forming a “Combined Maritime Security Task Force Pacific,” a law enforcement alliance rather than a military one.

Probably before that could be fully realized, the various nations with competing claims to the waters of the South China Sea, need to take their claims to the UN’s International Tribunal. The more nations use it, the more pressure on China to participate. If, they do not present a cases before the international their claims will be weakened.

 

Maritime Domain Awareness–Indian Style

Display of maritime traffic provided by AIS. Only vessels equipped with AIS are displayed, which excludes most fishing boats, pleasure craft, inland navigation and vessels less than 300 tons. Location: Dover Straits/English Channel. Author: fr:User:Pline

NavyRecognition provides some information on what India is doing to maintain Maritime Domain Awareness.

Since the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, they have made a strong effort to monitor marine traffic. An earlier discussion and links to related topics here.

USCG Navigation Center: Steering a steady course for safe, secure, efficient waterways–MarineLink

The above screenshot shows the display of the virtual aid to navigation established in partnership between the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Mississippi River. The virtual aid is significant in that it allows mariners to see a hazard when it is not possible to place a floating aid to mark it. U.S. Coast Guard image.

Marine Link has a very interesting post on the Coast Guard’s Navigation Center. It discusses its role in management of aids-to-navigation, issuance of Notice to Mariners, interface with NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers, maintenance of GPS including ground based differential GPS equipment, Automatic Information System (AIS) monitoring and quality control, long range tracking of US flag merchant ships, and maintenance of a Maritime Domain Awareness within 1000 miles of the US.