An Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a device that transmits information about your ship and receives the same from other ships. An example of information transmitted would be: Call sign, ship’s name, the ship’s speed, its course and destination. Coast stations can also receive this information.
The AIS is an important tool for coastal states to monitor ship traffic and to detect possible threats.
The SOLAS convention already states that an AIS must be fitted on ships over a period of time, ranging from 2002 to 2008, and depending on ship type and tonnage. The new International Ship and Port facility Security Code shortened this period of time and an AIS is now be required to be on all ships.