Both Council offices are equipped with Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). The AIS provides the Council with real-time information on vessel locations and movements in the Port of Valdez, Prince William Sound, and Cook Inlet.
These systems have become a mandatory piece of equipment on certain ships due to U.S. Coast Guard regulations. The system sends the ship’s information to any other ship equipped with an AIS (or in our case a shoreside office) in the area. The information includes a ship’s name, IMO number, type of vessel, speed, heading, course, destination, and other data.
This system provides the Council with real-time as well as historical information. The Council can track vessel positions during towing and tether exercises, docking, and escorting, along with speed, arrivals, and departures.
While the use of AIS is relatively new, it has definite safety benefits. Radar can identify another vessel in the vicinity, but it gives very little other information. An AIS onboard a vessel provides other vessels much more detailed information.