MSC 88 adopted amendments to SOLAS regulation V/18 regarding the annual testing of the automatic identification system (AIS) in 2010. As a result, a new regulation (SOLAS V/18.9) was introduced by MSC 308 (88) and adopted on 3 December 2010.

SOLAS Chapter V regulation 18.9 “The automatic identification system (AIS) shall be subjected to an annual test. The test shall be conducted by an approved surveyor or an approved testing or servicing facility. The test shall verify the correct programming of the ship static information, correct data exchange with connected sensors as well as verifying the radio performance by radio frequency measurement and on-air test using, e.g., a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). A copy of the test report shall be retained on board the ship.”

The date on which the annual testing of AIS enters into force is 1 July 2012, and the tests may be carried out in connection with the ship’s annual safety radio (CRC) or safety equipment (CEC) survey.

Approval of AIS service suppliers
The new regulation implies special requirements for surveyors since testing the correct data exchange with connected sensors and on-air radio tests requires both special AIS test equipment and specific technical knowledge.

In order to handle the upcoming requirements, DNV has introduced a new approval scheme for AIS service suppliers which is included in the updated DNV Approval Programme No. 406 published in October 2011. The updated approval programme is divided into two separate parts, one for GMDSS service suppliers and the other for AIS service suppliers. Although it is not mandatory for GMDSS service suppliers to have AIS approval as well, DNV strongly recommends all GMDSS service suppliers to obtain AIS service supplier approval as soon as possible so that they can carry out AIS survey on behalf of DNV in the near future.

Entry into force of the AISapproval programme
After 1 July 2012, all suppliers carrying out annual AIS testing must hold a formal DNV or national AIS service supplier approval.

However, since the process of approving sufficient numbers of AIS service suppliers may take some time, DNV may accept on a case-by-case basis that approved GMDSS service suppliers are to carry out the annual AIS survey under the supervision of a DNV surveyor - provided the GMDSS service supplier has a suitable AIS test box and AIS test knowledge. The DNV approval centre responsible for the region or DNV approval centre at Høvik, Norway should be contacted for assistance regarding accepted AIS test boxes and AIS test knowledge.

DNV Form AIS001a, issue December 2010 as amended, shall be filled in by the AIS service supplier and the attending DNV surveyor. The original shall be delivered to the master and a copy shall be recorded in NPS (DNV Nauticus Production System).

Date: 2011-11-14