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AIS System Helps Reduce Shipping Accidents; Malaysian Marine Department (MMD)

 

The Malaysian Marine Department (MMD) on Tuesday said that a substantial decline has been registered in the number of maritime accidents, often witnessed in the high traffic waters of the Straits of Malacca. According to the MMD, the installation of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) in small boats of less than 15 tones has lead to this encouraging development. The system helps in transmitting information on ships to other vessels with the help of radio or satellite links. It then not only identifies a vessel’s current position, but also its course and speed thus enabling it to be traced by other vessels and maritime authorities. MMD Maritime Director-General Datuk Ahmad Othman said: “The drop in accident rates is due to improved monitoring systems as we are installing AIS on small boats. With the AIS we can start to track small boats and minimize accidents. On average, 70,000 merchant vessels use the Straits of Malacca annually, and this figure does not include small fishing vessels, of which 30,000 use the strait annually.”He stressed that AIS was developed with the aim to avoid collisions between large vessels that are not within the range of shore-based systems. Due to the limitations of Very High Frequency (VHF) radio communications, and because not all vessels are equipped with AIS, the system is meant to be used primarily as a means of lookout and to determine the risk of collision rather than as an automatic collision avoidance system, in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
Based on the number of Class A vessels in service in 2008, it is estimated that there are more than 40,000 ships currently using AIS Class A equipment on an ongoing basis. In 2010, most commercial vessels operating on the EU inland waterways were mandated to fit an inland- waterway (modified and approved) AIS Class A device. The entire EU fishing fleet over 15 metres was given until 2014 to do the same. Additionally, a number of other countries, including China, India, the US, and Singapore, have started AIS mandate programs which require large numbers of vessels to fit an approved AIS device for safety and national security purposes.

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AIS System Helps Reduce Shipping Accidents; Malaysian Marine Department (MMD)

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