Minister promotes E-Navigation

Shipping Minister Stephen Ladyman has today set out how the UK can make the most from Automatic Identification System technology.


Shipping Minister Stephen Ladyman has today set out how the UK can make the most from the technology offered by Automatic Identification System (AIS) to underpin electronic navigation and facilitate a safer, modern shipping industry.



The Department for Transport has published a strategy which details the areas where AIS technology could bring significant benefits beyond its primary function of monitoring ship movements, and how the data it provides could open some commercial revenue opportunities to offset its own running costs.



AIS is a radio-based ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore system that can identify and track the movement of ships up to 30 miles out from the UK‘s coastline. Large ships, those of 300 gross tonnage or more, have been required by the International Maritime Organisation to have had an AIS system installed for tracking purposes since 2004.



However, the technology behind AIS has the potential to offer an even broader range of services. It could provide more responsive and lower-cost Aids to Navigation (AtoN) and assist Search and Rescue services and Counter Pollution activity. It could also build a comprehensive database of shipping movements along the coastline.



Ladyman’s report says AIS technology will form a key building block in an ‘e-navigation’ system of the future – an internationally integrated, electronic navigational aid that could transform the shipping industry and provide a safer and cleaner marine environment across the world.



Ladyman said, “We need to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by Automated Identification technology. AIS is an essential step towards e-navigation and as a result, will be a significant contributor towards our shared goal of safer and cleaner shipping not just around the UK, but across the globe.



“The strategy I am announcing today will help to put in place a UK-wide network, both on shore and at sea, that will maximise the full potential of AIS by 2010.”