Magazine article National Defense

Coast Guard to Beef Up Vessel Identification Network

Magazine article National Defense

Coast Guard to Beef Up Vessel Identification Network

Article excerpt

The Coast Guard has embarked on an initiative to improve communication between its land bases and vessels at sea.

The service in December awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman Space & Mission Systems Corp. to build the Nationwide Automatic Identification System. The NAIS will expand the Automatic Identification System--a ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore transponder used to locate and identify boats. AIS allows vessels to continuously exchange electronic data on their position, course, cargo and speed. Under international maritime law, ships weighing 300 gross tons or more must be fitted with the technology. Before AIS, vessels simply made due with radio communication.

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Now, the Coast Guard is building a nationwide infrastructure that will use AIS to link the service's land bases with ships, aircraft and all major U.S. ports, waterways and coastal zones. The program will provide a mechanism for bases to collect information from vessels. In tuna, data such as emergency warnings will be passed back to ships. Previously, shore facilities could only receive data from AIS. …

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