For the yearly testing of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) deployed on merchant ships, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee has established guidelines and has advised the Flag States to implement them.
In the same way that other navigation equipment is tested annually, the aim of these tests is to ensure that the equipment is working in accordance with International Maritime Organization (IMO) performance standards.
This criterion must be met by administrations that are members of IMO. This comprises shipping firms, shipowners, ship operators, and equipment manufacturers.
Automatic Identification System (AIS) testing will be done by whom?
This testing should be performed by a qualified radio inspector whose identification has been verified and who is approved by the Administration or a Recognized Organization.
We’ll see what’s on the list.
It is necessary to verify the installation of the equipment in order to determine if it is properly functioning. Below is a list of all the installation information.
Initial configuration report
Provision of the pilot plug
Power supply arrangements
Both Dynamic and Static data sets are sent by AIS. In the course of the yearly testing, it is necessary to verify the static information.
There are synchronized navigation devices, termed sensor equipment, that update some of the dynamic information on a regular basis In other words, testing will determine whether the AIS is capable of receiving information from those linked devices or otherwise.
Some of the dynamic information is manually entered by the user, which we term voyage data. A check will be made to see if the voyage data can really be entered correctly or not.
A performance test, including the radio frequency, must be conducted.
On-air tests on the unit should be performed using appropriate testing equipment, such as a marine traffic service station.
What is the requirement on AIS Annual test date range?
To undertake necessary surveys on merchant ships, the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC) has been created as a practical framework. This means that if two requirements are met, annual testing can be done in combination with Harmonized System of Survey (HSS).
Three months before the due date of cargo ship safety equipment renewal survey.
Three months before or after the required date of the cargo ship safety equipment periodic or yearly survey.
Is there a standard structure for the test report that I should know about?
The Maritime Safety Committee provides a sample test report for you to review.
Are there any restrictions on the language of the report?
No, the test report can be written in either English, French, or Spanish. For people who do not speak either of these languages, the text should include the translation in one of these languages as well.
Lastly, a copy of the test report should be retained on board the ship for future reference.
Model test report for Automatic Identification System (AIS) Annual survey.
Name of ship/call sign:
Port of registry:
Date keel laid:
1. Installation details
AIS transponder type:
Type approval certificate
Initial installation configuration report on board?
Drawings provided? (Antenna-, AIS-arrangement and block diagram)
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)
2. AIS programming . Static information
Radio call sign
Name of ship
Type of ship
Ship length and beam
Location of GPS antenna
3. AIS programming . Dynamic information
Ships position with accuracy and integrity status (Source: GNSS)
Time in UTC (Source: GNSS)
Course over ground (COG) (will fluctuate at dockside) (Source GNSS)
Speed over ground (SOG) (zero at dockside) (Source: GNSS)
Heading (Source: Gyro)
Rate of turn, where available (ROT)
Angle of heel, pitch and roll, where available
4. AIS programming . voyage related information
Type of cargo
Destination and ETA (at masters discretion)
Route plan (optional)
Short safety-related messages
5. Performance test using measuring instrument
Frequency measurements AIS ch. 1 and 2, GMDSS ch. 70
Transmitting output, AIS ch. 1 and 2, GMDSS ch. 70
Polling information ch. 70
Read data from AIS
Send data to AIS
Check AIS response to .virtual vessels.
6. “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?:
The AIS has been tested according to IMO SN/Circ.227 and resolution MSC.74(69), annex 3