An Observation about the Maritime Automatic Identification System

Posted: January 18, 2022
By Daniel Amrine January 12,2022

Article from Daniel Amrine on LinkedIn

We love gis, and I love delving into new disciplines and learning as much as I can about them. This project given by Riviera U. Consulting has really given me this opportunity.

I recently delved into why ships have an AIS or Automatic Identification System ( I love the series Firefly and he talks about transponders, this is similar)…

“The regulation requires AIS to be fitted aboard all ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards engaged on international voyages, cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards not engaged on international voyages and all passenger ships irrespective of size. The requirement became effective for all ships by 31 December 2004.”

The Maritime Safety Committee also came out and condemned the use of any data from the AIS published online. This I do not understand, the left hand forces the ships to have them while the right hand condemns any use of the information. I realize it’s for safety purposes but how did they expect someone not monopolize on this?

“At its seventy-ninth session, in December 2004, the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) agreed that, in relation to the issue of freely available automatic information system (AIS)-generated ship data on the world-wide web, the publication on the world-wide web or elsewhere of AIS data transmitted by ships could be detrimental to the safety and security of ships and port facilities and was undermining the efforts of the Organization and its Member States to enhance the safety of navigation and security in the international maritime transport sector.

The Committee condemned the regrettable publication on the world-wide web, or elsewhere, of AIS data transmitted by ships and urged Member Governments, subject to the provisions of their national laws, to discourage those who make available AIS data to others for publication on the world-wide web, or elsewhere from doing so.

In addition, the Committee condemned those who irresponsibly publish AIS data transmitted by ships on the world-wide web, or elsewhere, particularly if they offer services to the shipping and port industries.”

I’ve used these following websites:

Essentially these companies are condemned by the MSC…but they provide a powerful tool especially with the shipping problems cause by the pandemic in Los Angeles. I have some serious questions about this LA issue. As a team we have also started to dig into data about traffic counts and freight trains.

  1. Why is it localized to LA Harbor?
  2. This data sows there are no other ports with such a backup, is this because they are much slower when compared to LA in non-covid times?
  3. Why is there no AIS requirement for freight trains and long haul trucking? Follow up: If the AIS is for safety of passengers and ship crews why doesn’t this also apply to highways and rails?

Finally, the following image shows a path of a Chinese ship that as been waiting to Moore in the harbor since November 3rd, the track is colored by vessel speed so the red is 0 which means it was drifting, until it was told to go to the anchorage and weigh anchor. Several days drifting outside of the shipping lanes wasting fuel, food, and time.

Author info:

Daniel Armine – Grand River Analytics, LLC

Tim Rathmann – Riviera Unconventionals, LLC

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Related Tags: logistics | maritime | Shipping

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