UK is planning to adopt a technology offered by Automatic Identification System (AIS) to underpin electronic navigation and facilitate a safer, modern shipping industry.
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. However, the technology behind AIS has the potential to offer an even broader range of services: from a more responsive and lower-cost aids to Navigation (AtoN); to assisting search and rescue services and counter pollution activity; to building a comprehensive database of shipping movements along the coastline. And in doing so, 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. 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. e-Navigation is a long-term vision, now being actively explored by the UK and other leading maritime nations, for a wholly integrated electronic navigation concept to transform shipping safety. The UK has proposed to the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee that it adopt a work programme to achieve this goal. The Government hopes to secure this commitment from the IMO as soon as possible.