Testing the Automatic Identification System
Before launching off into some specilised cargo related certification this blog will briefly double back on itself to cover certificates related to the Radio Equipment certification. One covers the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) and this one the Automatic Identification System (AIS).
Why is an AIS test report required
It is required under SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 18.9
“The automatic identification system (AIS) shall be subjected to an annual test. The test shall be conducted by an approved surveyor or an approved testing or servicing facility. The test shall verify the correct programming of the ship static information, correct data exchange with connected sensors as well as verifying the radio performance by radio frequency measurement and on-air test using, e.g., a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). A copy of the test report shall be retained on board the ship”
What should the test include?
- Installation details including antenna layout, initial configuration report, interconnection diagrams, provision of the pilot plug and power supply arrangements
- Checking the correct programming of the ships static information
- The ability of the AIS to receive ships dynamic information from the appropriate sensors
- The ability to correctly input the ships voyage related data
- A performance test of the equipment including radio frequency measurements
- An on-air test that the unit is working correctly using for example an appropriate Vessel Traffic Service station or a suitable test equipment
When can the test be carried out?
- Up to 3 months before the due date of the passenger ship safety renewal survey or the cargo ship safety equipment renewal survey
- 3 months before or after the due date of the cargo ship safety equipment periodical/annual survey
What information is contained on an AIS test report?
- Ship information
- Name of ship/call sign
- MMSI number
- Port of registry
- IMO Number
- Gross tonnage
- Date keel laid
- Installation details
- AIS transponder type
- Type approval certificate
- Initial installation configuration report on board?
- Drawings provided?
- Main source of electrical power
- Emergency source of electrical power
- Capacity to be verified if the AIS is connected to a battery
- Pilot plug near pilots operating position?
- 120 V AC provided near pilot plug? (Panama and St. Lawrence requirement)
- AIS programming-Static information
- MMSI number
- IMO number
- Radio call sign
- Name of ship
- Type of ship
- Ship length and beam
- Location of GPS antenna
- AIS programming-Dynamic information
- Ships position with accuracy and integrity status (Source: GNSS)
- Time in UTC
- Course over ground
- Speed over ground
- Navigational status
- Rate of turn, where available
- Angle of heel, pitch and roll, where available
- AIS programming- voyage related information
- Ships draught
- Type of cargo
- Destination and ETA (at masters discretion)
- Route plan (optional)
- Short safety-related messages
- Performance test using measuring instrument
- Frequency measurements
- Transmitting output
- Polling information
- Read data from AIS
- Send data to AIS
- Check AIS response to virtual vessels
- On air performance test
- Check reception performance
- Confirm reception of own signal from other ship/VTS
- Polling by VTS/shore installation
- Electromagnetic interference from AIS observed to other installations?
Note: On-air test of transmission and reception includes: – able to detect a vessel at or over 10 Nautical Mile range; – contacting a vessel, VTS or MRCC at or over 10 Nm and confirming own ship’s detection on their AIS.
Useful AIS links