AIS made mandatory in Indonesian waters

AIS Indonesia. Credit: IMO

Foreign-flagged and Indonesian-flagged ships sailing in Indonesian territorial waters must install and activate an automatic identification system (AIS) following the entry into force of a new regulation on 20 August.

The new rules, as mandated by the Ministry of Transportation of the Republic of Indonesia through the approval of Regulation PM No 7 of 2019, are aligned with the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.

It is anticipated that the regulation will improve navigation safety and security within Indonesian territorial waters. For those ships sailing in waters located within the regulatory zone, an increase in enforcement checks by the Indonesian authorities can be expected.

In the wake of the entry into force of the new rules, a correspondent from Gard P&I Club SPICA Services (Indonesia) warned that administrative sanctions may be imposed on vessels that do not comply with the mandatory AIS requirements. A recommendation against the turning off of AIS transponders, save where necessary to preserve the safety or security of the ship, was also issued by the P&I Club as that act would constitute a breach of the SOLAS Convention and heightens the risk of collision, damage to other ships, pollution, and loss of seafarers’ lives at sea.

The Gard P&I Club also took the opportunity to remind members and clients that any signs of manipulating AIS transponders could be considered ‘red flags’ for potential illicit activity. ‘Going dark’ in areas of heightened surveillance may require legitimate reasons to be evidenced to dispel suspicion of intentional breach of sanctions regimes.

Some concessions for Indonesian-flagged ships have been made in the regulation that distinguish between the permitted use of either AIS class A or AIS class B by certain vessels. The differences between AIS class A and AIS class B transponders are their broadcast mode, information transmission rate, and equipment requirements.

Under the regulation, all Indonesian-flagged vessels, to which SOLAS applies, must have a functional AIS class A installed and activated on board. Currently, only certain Indonesian-flagged vessels are required to have an AIS class B installed and activated on board. This includes non-conventional cargo ships and passenger ships up to and more than 35 gt in size; fishing vessels up to and more than 60 gt in size; and ships that sail between countries or that carry out barter and trade or other activities that are regulated in the provisions of the legislation in the field of customs.