The Japan Radio Company (JRC) have successfully demonstrated their Automatic Identification System
(AIS) to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at Southampton.
Although several other manufacturers have been claiming to have models, they were not in fact to the IMO universal standard and would not work with existing Coastguard equipment.
The JRC model does however work which will ensure that AIS is available for the start of the mandatory fitting under the new Chapter V of SOLAS in July.
This is a significant event for MCA as the Agency has been pressing for AIS since Lord Donaldson’s Report ‘Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas’ was published in 1994.
The AIS successfully worked with the shore network operated by HM Coastguard, the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) operated by the port of Southampton and other ships in the area.
Kim Fisher, Head of Navigation Safety of the MCA said:" This is the first example of a Universal AIS meeting IMO performance standards that we have seen. JRC is to be congratulated on producing such a fine device. The UK has been pressing internationally for the introduction of AIS since the report of Lord Donaldson Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas in 1994 and this device will allow the mandatory fitting to start in July."