AIS compliance in focus for European shipowners

Shakespeare, a leader in marine antenna design, engineering and manufacturing is seeking to support ship-owners at Nor-Shipping 2015 as the deadline for compliance on the expanded AIS (Automatic Identification System) rules for U.S. waters fast approaches. Amendments introduced on 30th January 2015 to the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) AIS code require vessels of various sizes operating in or visiting U.S. waters to be outfitted with a USCG type-approved and properly installed operational AIS no later than March 1st, 2016.

In order to be compliant, a vessel’s AIS must be in ‘effective operating condition’, which entails the continuous operation of AIS and the accurate input and upkeep of AIS data fields during all times that the vessel is navigating (underway or at anchor), and, at least 15 minutes prior to unmooring1. A reliable AIS antenna is essential to achieving on-going ‘effective operating condition’.

“Type-Approved AIS systems are available from major electronics manufacturers, but ship-owners and installers must consider the quality of the antenna the system is connected to, to ensure reliability,” said Brian Martin, Engineering Manager, Shakespeare. “A failure of the system caused by a poor quality or badly installed antenna will have the same result as if the AIS hardware on board fails. Notwithstanding the loss of the safety benefits to a vessel and those around it, a loss of AIS capability can potentially lead to substantial fines.”

A major supplier of durable, high quality marine radio and AIS antenna products, Shakespeare’s product portfolio meets the needs of a variety of commercial customers within diverse applications. Headquartered in the USA, Shakespeare serves the European and wider markets through its European HQ in the UK. The company comes with strong credentials for advising and supporting ship-owners on radio and AIS regulations, counting the USCG, US Navy and military services as major customers of its antenna products.

“With less than a year before new USCG regulations come into effect we are keen to support ship-owners in Europe and further afield to ensure they are up to code when their vessels enter U.S. waters,” said Franck Søgaard, Vice President, Shakespeare. “As the largest gathering of the international shipping community before the new deadline, we hope to engage with ship-owners and system integrators at Nor-Shipping, to ensure that they are working towards compliance on the new USCG AIS regulations, by using antennas that can ensure AIS data is continuously available.”