Leica Marine GPS
has received orders from Seacoast Electronics
to supply automatic identification systems (AIS) for three new tankers under construction for British Petroleum at the National Steel and Shipbuilding
Company (NASSCO) in San Diego, Calif.
Each of the vessels will be fitted with an integrated DGPS/AIS system meeting the International Maritime Organization
(IMO) carriage requirements for shipboard AIS. The AIS equipment will permit the ships to exchange
vital identification and navigation data automatically with other AIS-equipped ships and coastal stations via VHF radio channels.
In June 2001, the company unveiled the MX 420, the first fully-integrated shipboard
GPS/DGPS/AIS system in anticipation of the mandatory IMO carriage requirements, which come into effect July 1, 2002. After that date, new
passenger and cargo ships must be fitted with an approved AIS device.
The AIS systems will be installed and commissioned by Seacoast Electronics,
Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., as part of a complete integrated bridge system.
Seacoast is a high-seas dealer for Leica Marine GPS, providing nationwide
sales and service support for the company's products.
The three 185,000 dwt tankers (hull numbers 484-486) are being built for BP
at NASSCO to transport oil from Valdez, Ala., to refineries on the U.S.
West Coast. They are being fitted with the latest navigation technology to
ensure safe operation in environmentally sensitive waters. Each ship is 287
meters L.O.A., has a design draft of 18.75 meters and operates at a speed of
15.3 knots. Cargo capacity is 1.3 million barrels of oil. The first ship
is scheduled for delivery in 2003.