After String Of Collisions, Navy Will Broadcast Ship Coordinates In Busy Waters

October 2, 2017


In the wake of deadly collisions between U.S. warships and commercial vessels, the Navy is issuing new orders that instruct its commanders operating in congested waterways to switch on an identifying beacon to help avoid crashes.

That system, known as Automatic Identification System, or AIS, has been around for some 20 years and has long been required aboard all commercial vessels. It is used to share vital information among ships, including the type of vessel, its name, speed, location and whether it might be on a collision course with another ship.

“It’s important for situational awareness,” says John Konrad, an author who has also captained commercial vessels. “AIS is certainly not the only means to avoid collisions at sea, but it’s an important tool.”

But the Navy, even in peacetime, prefers not to draw attention to its movements…

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