22 Листопада 2018

AIS Disconnection by Ships Is a Breach of International Law and Risk for Protecting Human Life at Sea

Since the beginning of annexation by Russian Federation of Crimean peninsula, seaports located in the territory of Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Evpatoriya, Kerch, Sevastopol, Feodosia, Yalta) are closed by the order of the Government of Ukraine*

MTOT previously reported the entrance of foreign cargo ships and tankers to the closed ports of Crimea, however, in 2018 the number of recorded incidents significantly decreased due to the massive shutdown of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) on the ships. Such actions prove that foreign companies involved in maritime transport to the closed ports try to avoid liability according to Ukrainian legislation and also to not be included in the list of offenders who may be subject to international legal sanctions.

Automatic Identification System (AIS) use on vessels is mandatory in accordance with the requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (“the Convention”). Thanks to the system, it is possible not only to respond to accident in a timely manner but also provide assistance to victims and track violations of navigation and illegal crossing of the borders.

Thus, in accordance with the Convention, AIS must always be activated during operation of a vessel (during navigation or on a raid). AIS is one of the main elements of the system for monitoring ships not only in the coastal zone, but also far beyond its borders, because it uses satellite communication systems. AIS is also used during pilotage of vessels and for transmission of safety of navigation communications.

However, authorized personnel in many foreign vessels knowingly violate the norms of the Convention, so now Ukraine is collecting information about foreign companies involved in maritime transport, vessels operators who illegally enter ports of the temporarily occupied Crimea and violate the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.

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* Seaports are closed by the order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on April 30, 2014 № 578-р “Some Issues of Functioning of Maritime and River Transport” and in accordance with Ministry of the Infrastructure of Ukraine order of 16.06.2014 № 255 “On closure of seaports”.