1. IMO Resolution A. 1106 (29) provides revised guidelines for the onboard operational use of shipborne Automatic Identification System (AIS). The said revised guidelines also empower the master to switch off the AIS in certain circumstances pertaining to safety and security. The relevant section of the said Resolution is as follows:
“AIS should always be in operation when ships are underway or at anchor. If the master believes that the continual operation of AIS might compromise the safety or security of his/her ship or where security incidents are imminent, the AIS may be switched off. Unless it would further compromise the safety or security, if the ship is operating in a mandatory ship reporting system, the master should report this action and the reason for doing so to the competent authority. Actions of this nature should always be recorded in the ship's logbook together with the reason for doing so”.
2. In this regard, Indian Administration has issued DGS Order No. 15 of 2022 providing following requirements:
a. In case of situations where the master of ship of any flag in Indian waters or transiting through Indian waters, decides to switch off the AIS, or the AIS of the ship becomes non-operational, the master of the ship is required to intimate the same to the nearest Indian MRCC immediately and DGCOMM Centre. Entry of the occurrence should also be made in the ship’s logbook.
b. Any vessel in Indian waters or transiting through Indian waters with non-operational AIS could be intercepted and detained, as such vessels could pose a threat to security.
c. A vessel in dry-dock is also required to intimate about the switching off of AIS to MRCC and DGCOMM Centre prior entering the dry-dock and subsequently when the AIS is switched on.
d. Following provisions will apply to vessels with non-operational AIS, or AIS switched off without informing the concerned authorities;
i. Vessel will be detained.
ii. Fee of Rupees Eight Lakhs (8,00,000/-) to be paid to the Central Government through Bharat Kosh payment system, as per the principles contained in section 25 of DG Shipping Circular No. 13 of 2010 for ships operating without valid certificates, as non-operation AIS effects safety.
iii. Action may also be initiated against master and owners of the vessel.
3. The provisions as per above paragraph 2 will only be implemented on the decision of the Principal Officer of the jurisdictional Mercantile Marine Department. A party aggrieved by the decision of the Principal Officer may appeal against the same to the Director General of Shipping.
4. Owners/ operators and masters of vessels operating in Indian waters or transiting through Indian waters are advised to be guided by above and ensure compliance.
This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.