Members with ships trading in US waters, particularly in the Mississippi River, are recommended to refer to the USCG Marine Safety Alert 04-20 on the importance of accurate Automatic Identification System (AIS) broadcasts.
As members may be aware, Regulation V/19 of the SOLAS convention sets out navigational equipment to be carried on-board ships, according to ship type. Under the regulation, ships fitted with AIS shall maintain this equipment in operation at all times and display accurate data in order to ensure safe navigation.
It is also important to bear in mind that AIS is an aid to navigation – it does not replace, but supports, other navigational systems. While AIS may assist in the identification of targets, the officer on watch (OOW) should not rely on this as the sole information system, but should make use of all safety-relevant information available. Furthermore, the use of AIS does not negate the responsibility of the OOW to comply at all times with the collision regulations, particularly rule 7 when determining whether risk of collisions exists.
Members are also recommended to refer to the club’s recent news items on the Mississippi river.
Source: The Standard Club