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  #1  
Old 09-28-2013
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How to report AIS violations?

Yesterday we were sailing on the Delaware River, where we frequently encounter large commercial traffic. AIS helps us to "see" vessels coming from miles away, and make sure that we are well out of their way.

We were passed by Seatrade's Polarstream, which was not transmitting an AIS signal. (I was seeing dozens of other vessels up to 22 nm away.) This is the first time we have noted a vessel >300 tons that was not complying with this Homeland Security/SOLAS requirement. I attempted to hail him on channels 13, 19, and 16, and he did not respond. I wanted to politely suggest that he turn on his transponder. But he did not respond to any of my hails. (A later radio check passed with no problems.)

So my question is, are we supposed to report these sorts of things to USCG? If so, what is the suggested mechanism? Is there a phone number for vessels within cell reception to call? Or are we supposed to hail USCG over the public VHF and report them for everyone to hear? Or are we just supposed to ignore it?

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Old 09-28-2013
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Re: How to report AIS violations?

I would have. It's a safety issue.
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Old 09-28-2013
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Re: How to report AIS violations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Or are we just supposed to ignore it?
I would not ignore it. There is so much nonsense going on on Channel 16, advising the Coast Guard about a potential safety hazard (not only for small boats but also, and in particular, for commercial shipping) would be an excellent use of bandwidth.
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Old 09-28-2013
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Re: How to report AIS violations?

I would have let them know. If they choose to ignore it then that is up to them. If they said not to report again then next time don't. But if its like here in the Houston Ship Channel there are so many ships coming and going I doubt if they are watching all of them to make sure their AIS is on.
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Re: How to report AIS violations?

Ehh. It would have been nice if you could have hailed them, but being a Liberian flagged ship it's unlikely that anyone understands English beyond the words "port to port, port to port".

AIS is great, especially in pilotage but it is un-reliable in the big scheme of things. It's dependent on Gyros, VHFs, and GPS units on board another ship. There are a lot of places where it's safer to turn it off for anti piracy.The IMO best practices dictate heightened security from the Red Sea through 78*E which for a lot of ships means turning off AIS. AIS simply can not be used as a primary means of collision avoidance. I understand the idea that in the piracy situation the risks outweigh the rewards, the point I'm making though it that a lot of ships run without it and no one has run into each other because of it (knock on wood).

Let's just say it had been turned off (EDG test while at the dock) the AIS unit would need a password from the master to be turned back on... does the master actually know the password? Probably not, it's most likely hidden in a manual in the cargo office or radio room. If you're taking arrival or departure on a ship that big, no one is going to take the time to try and figure out how to transmit again and update voyage data. You'll maybe have one mate and the master on the bridge, people are just stretched to thin and you want everyone's eyes looking out the window.

Should they have had it on? For sure. But I'm just trying to make the point that there are a lot of reasons why this situation could have happened. Is it worth calling the coast guard over? Maybe, by the time anyone did anything they'd be well down the road. In addition they wouldn't make it father then the next controlled TSS or port with it still off. When the VTS, TSS operators and Pilots want to know where you are they'll make sure you'll have it on. If you don't have AIS on they'll stop until you do, and you better believe any captain that wants to keep his job will get it back on mighty fast. If I were in your shoes I wouldn't be losing sleep that this guy's AIS is still of, more likely than no someone has picked up on it by now.

Just curious, was there an embarked pilot still aboard?
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Re: How to report AIS violations?

I know this is a old post, but the problem seems to be growing. in the USA this is easy to correct through VHF channels directly with the offending Captain, and the Coast Guard, however, for those that are abroad be careful. I care not to give the many examples why a ship would not want to found... err transmit its AIS.
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Re: How to report AIS violations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwturn2 View Post
I know this is a old post, but the problem seems to be growing. in the USA this is easy to correct through VHF channels directly with the offending Captain, and the Coast Guard, however, for those that are abroad be careful. I care not to give the many examples why a ship would not want to found... err transmit its AIS.
This is an old post??? The first posting in this thread is about 2 hours old...
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Old 09-28-2013
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Re: How to report AIS violations?

Guys,

Let me make this clear. I was referring to the DELAWARE RIVER, 100 miles inland near Philadelphia. This isn't Somalia. There is no piracy. We've got Boeing military test flights. We've got football and soccer stadiums. We've got oil refineries. We've got large ships carrying crude oil, refined products, containers, bananas, pineapples, and even LPG. We've got the Navy Yard (though the Feds may actually hope you blow up some of the rusting wrecks there )

Homeland security is a major issue here. AIS is a US federal requirement. Part of it is collision avoidance. Part of it is the fact that the Feds want to be able to identify all large shipping traffic for protection. There is no excuse for "going dark" on this river. If you're over 300 tons or a passenger ferry, transmitting AIS is a Federal requirement.

So let's stop trying to justify why commercial traffic would turn off their AIS here. It's not a choice.

My inquiry was just whether/how to notify the authorities when I see a vessel not complying with Federal law.
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Last edited by TakeFive; 09-29-2013 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 09-28-2013
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Re: How to report AIS violations?

Rick, this might be helpful:
Report Suspicious Activity | Homeland Security

Basically, DHS wants you to report anything suspicious to the police. In this case, I'd probably either call the Philly marine police or the USCG. As suggested above, taking the guy to task after repeatedly failing to respond to your hailing requests and the disabled AIS would make me not feel bad about taking him to task over the VHF.

Since this was a non-emergency situation, you could also call 311 from your cell phone. You'd be getting the city's non-emergency "tip line", and I can't speak to how well that is run, but at least you would have done your part.
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Old 09-28-2013
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Re: How to report AIS violations?

Call the USCG, call the Marine Police call all the LEOs until you find one who might listen.

Maybe it was broken.

Lets hope the DHS has a better way of trackng threats than AIS.
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