Japanese Ships are to be Detectable from a Distance


Enhanced Requirement of Anti-collision Devices in More Japanese Ships


Certain ships may have to be equipped with anti-collision machinery that the federal government believe may be useful in thwarting terrorism.  As per the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, ships are to be detectable from a distance.  This rule will eventually require a device to be installed on all the ships of a definite size.

According to sources, TOKYO – Japan’s Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry proposes to enlarge the range of ships which must be equipped with automatic identification system (AIS) devices to prevent collisions.  AIS devices transmit signals with regard to vessel’s position, sailing course, identification of vessels and other information.

Highlights of AIS devices:

  • AIS devices must have to be made available in ships with a displacement of 500 tons or more for ships sailing in Japan.  The ministry will think through for lowering this to ships of at least 100 tons or 300 tons.
  • Passenger ships and all other 300-ton or more ships sailing overseas are to be equipped with AIS and The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea assists.  
  • Japan’s AIS requirement for ships of at least 500 tons is stipulated in the Ship Safety Law. There are about 1,500 ships of 500 tons or more that are equipped with AIS.
  • In Japan, among about 520,000 boats that are less than 20 tons, which are not required to have the system, only about 1,000 have the devices.  Of the about 5,600 ships that are over 20 tons and less than 500 tons, only about 30 percent are equipped with AIS.

Many marine accidents are caused by the crew’s failure in not noticing the vessels in front of them.  On the other hand if a ship is equipped with AIS, crew can observe information about other ships’ locations and sailing courses on their monitors.  Marine traffic control officials of the Japan Coast Guard, which receives information in the same way, can give warnings to both ships if there is a risk of a collision.  AIS is highly effective for preventing the collision of ships.  In cases of multiple ships simultaneously send out radio waves in a narrow sea area, their AIS devices may not receive information due to crossed lines.  

Therefore, the ministry will conduct computer simulation experiments with the JCG and discuss what the minimum tonnage should be.  The minimum tonnage will be set at either 100 tons or 300 tons.  The ministry plans to decide on the tonnage by the end of this fiscal year, and aims to implement the new requirement after a delay period of several years.

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Source: Chicago Tribune


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