State-of-the-art satellite technology continues to advance AIS (Automated Identification System) ship tracking capabilities. The ability to track vessels with regard to navigation, routing deviations, piracy, search and rescue, and more is critical to many maritime domain and shipping industry stakeholders.
Since December 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has required that AIS systems be installed on passenger ships, vessels of at least 300 gross tonnage that sail on international voyages, and cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and above that do not sail on international voyages. All of these requirements carry on the important work of the SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea) Convention, first introduced into the maritime industry in 1914, following the tragic sinking of the Titanic.
With the advent of AIS via satellite, it is possible to have global visibility of fleets across the world’s oceans, even in remote areas. In coastal regions, for instance, starting in 2007, the U.S. Coast Guard began implementing their interim Nationwide Automatic Identification System to monitor the nation’s 58 ports and 11 coastal sectors.
Satellites play a critical role in order to provide valuable vessel position/activity data globally. ORBCOMM has been one of the leaders in this sector. In fact, ORBCOMM was responsible for providing a customized AIS program for the U.S. Coast Guard's national security initiative in 2004.
Recently, ORBCOMM announced the launch of a new constellation of satellites that will provide even greater coverage - so much so that once they are fully functional we expect to see the strongest AIS satellite coverage commercially available.
The six newly-launched ORBCOMM OG2 satellites, which are currently in testing mode, are equipped with AIS payloads and are expected to be fully able to transmit M2M messaging and AIS services within the next 60 days.
PortVision maintains the largest commercial AIS infrastructure in the United States and is one of the largest International providers of AIS data and services, with over 50 million AIS-based ship location reports and a data warehouse of historical vessel movements in excess of 30 billion records. This data is used by major oil companies, government agencies, maritime service providers, and trade organizations. For more information, click here.