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[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
33 CFR Parts 26, 161, 164, and 165
Automatic Identification System; Vessel Carriage Requirement
AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: This final rule adopts, with changes, the temporary interim rule that amends port and waterway regulations and implements the Automatic Identification System (AIS) carriage requirements of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) and the International Maritime Organization requirements adopted under International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, (SOLAS) as amended.
This rule is one in a series of final rules published in today's Federal Register. To best understand this rule, first read the final rule titled ``Implementation of National Maritime Security Initiatives'' (USCG-2003-14792), published elsewhere in today's Federal Register.
DATES: This final rule is effective November 21, 2003. On July 1, 2003, the Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this final rule.
ADDRESSES: Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of docket USCG-2003-14757 and are available for inspection or copying at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. You may also find this docket on the Internet at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://dms.dot.gov You may inspect the material incorporated by reference at room 1409, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, 2100 Second Street SW., Washington, DC 20593-0001 between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202- 267-6277. Copies of the material are available as indicated in the ``Incorporation by Reference'' section of this preamble. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this final rule, call Mr. Jorge Arroyo, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Vessel Traffic Management (G-MWV), by telephone 202-267-6277, toll-free telephone 1-800-842-8740 ext. 7-6277, or electronic mail email@example.com. If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Andrea M. Jenkins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, Department of Transportation, at telephone 202-366-0271.
On July 1, 2003, we published a temporary interim rule with request for comments and notice of public meeting titled ``Automatic Identification System; Vessel Carriage Requirement'' in the Federal Register (68 FR 39353). This temporary interim rule was one of a series of temporary interim rules on maritime security published in the July 1, 2003, issue of the Federal Register. On July 16, 2003, we published a document correcting typographical errors and omissions in that rule (68 FR 41913).
We received a total of 438 letters in response to the six temporary interim rules by July 31, 2003. The majority of these letters contained multiple comments, some of which applied to the docket to which the letter was submitted, and some which applied to a different docket. For example, we received several letters in the docket for the temporary interim rule titled ``Implementation of National Maritime Security Initiatives'' that contained comments in that temporary interim rule, plus comments on the ``Automated Identification System; Carriage Requirement'' temporary interim rule. We have addressed individual comments in the preamble to the appropriate final rule. Additionally, we had several commenters submit the same comment to all six dockets. We counted these duplicate submissions as only one letter, and we addressed each comment within that letter in the preamble for the appropriate final rule. Because of statutorily imposed time constraints for publishing these regulations, we were unable to consider, in this Final Rule, comments received after the period for receipt of comments closed on July 31, 2003. Copies of late-received comments on AIS will be placed into the docket for the separate AIS Notice and request for comments that was published on July 1, 2003 (USCG 2003-14878; 68 FR 39369).
A public meeting was held in Washington, DC, on July 23, 2003, and
approximately 500 people attended. Comments from the public meeting are
also included in the ``Discussion of Comments and Changes'' section of
this preamble. A transcript of this meeting is available in the docket,
where indicated under ADDRESSES.
In order to focus on the changes made to the regulatory text since
the temporary interim rule was published, we have adopted the temporary interim rule and set out, in this final rule, only the changes made to the temporary interim rule. We will place a copy of the unofficial
complete regulatory text in
the docket, where indicated under ADDRESSES.
Public Meetings for Rulemakings Related to Vessel Traffic Service
The Coast Guard held a public meeting on October 28, 1998, in New
Orleans, Louisiana. The meeting was announced in a notice published in
the Federal Register on September 18, 1998 (63 FR 49939). This meeting
gave the Coast Guard the opportunity to discuss the Vessel Traffic
Service (VTS) concept on the Lower Mississippi River and the envisioned
use of automatic identification system technology in the VTS. At this
1998 meeting, we reported the preliminary results of tests conducted on
the Lower Mississippi River using precursor AIS. The proposed VTS on
the Lower Mississippi River is not discussed in this rulemaking because
it is the subject of a separate rulemaking titled ``Vessel Traffic
Service Lower Mississippi River'' (65 FR 24616, April 26, 2000; docket
[USCG-1998-4399]). We copied those comments regarding AIS that were
submitted to the VTS Lower Mississippi River docket and placed those
copies in the docket for this final rule for historical purposes.
However, most of those comments were not addressed in the preamble
discussion of the temporary interim rule because they were no longer
applicable or because they addressed a previous version of AIS and not
the version required by this final rule.
Over the past few years, the Coast Guard has made AIS presentations
at various public forums including Federal advisory committee meetings
(Towing Safety Advisory Committee, National Offshore Safety Advisory
Committee, Houston-Galveston Navigation Safety Advisory Committee and
Navigation Safety Advisory Council). Moreover, the AIS-based Ports and
Waterways Safety System project being installed at the VTS Lower
Mississippi River is regularly discussed at the Lower Mississippi River
Waterway Safety Advisory Committee meetings.
The Houston-Galveston Navigation Safety Advisory Committee and
Lower Mississippi River Waterway Safety Advisory Committee are
federally chartered advisory committees charged with making
recommendations to the Coast Guard on matters relating to the safe and
efficient transit of vessels on their respective waterways. These open
forums have afforded the public, particularly those in the Gulf of
Mexico and Mississippi River areas, the opportunity to comment on both
VTS Lower Mississippi River and AIS issues. The public's input was
taken into account throughout this final rule.
Background and Purpose
Section 5004 of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, as codified in 33
U.S.C. 2734, directed the Coast Guard to operate additional equipment,
as necessary, to provide surveillance of tank vessels transiting Prince
William Sound, Alaska. We have done so since 1994 through a system then
known as ``Automated Dependent Surveillance.'' Advances have taken
place with this technology, now referred to as AIS. Section 102 of the
Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) mandates that AIS
be installed and operating on most commercial and passenger vessels on
all navigable waters of the United States.
The version of AIS required by this final rule automatically
broadcasts vessel and voyage-related information that is received by
other AIS-equipped ships and shore stations. In the ship-to-shore mode,
AIS enhances maritime domain awareness and allows for the efficient
exchange of vessel traffic information that previously was only
available via voice communications with a VTS. In ship-to-ship mode, an
AIS provides essential information to other vessels, such as name,
position, course, and speed that is not otherwise readily available on
board vessels. In either mode, an AIS enhances the mariner's
situational awareness, makes possible the accurate exchange of
navigational information, mitigates the risk of collision through
reliable passing arrangements, and facilitates vessel traffic
management, while simultaneously reducing voice radiotelephone
AIS has achieved acceptance through worldwide adoption of
performance and technical standards developed to ensure commonality,
universality, and inter-operability. These recommendations have now
been established and adopted as standards by the following diverse
international bodies: The International Maritime Organization (IMO),
the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the International
Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Further, installation of such
equipment is required on vessels subject to the International
Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, (SOLAS), as amended.
The ``Automatic Identification System; Vessel Carriage
Requirement'' temporary interim rule provides a comprehensive
discussion on the applicability and compliance dates, AIS testing, the
need for standardization, existing AIS-like systems, and the ports and
waterways safety system. This information will not be duplicated in
this final rule, but remains available at the Federal Register (68 FR
39353) and in the docket for this rule (USCG-2003-14757).
Discussion of Comments and Changes
Comments from each of the temporary interim rules and from the
public meeting held on July 23, 2003, have been grouped by topic and
addressed within the preambles to the applicable final rules. If a
comment applied to more than one of the six rules, we discussed it in
the preamble to each of the final rules that it concerned. Several
comments were submitted to a docket that included topics not addressed
in that particular rule, but were addressed in one or more of the other
rules. This was especially true for several comments submitted to the
docket of part 101 (USCG-2003-14792). In such cases, we discussed the
comments only in the preamble to each of the final rules that concerned
the topic addressed.
One commenter requested that we extend the compliance date for
passenger and fishing vessels to December 31, 2005, to take advantage
of prospective, potentially lower cost, AIS devices.
We believe the costs of AIS will continue to decrease as more
manufacturers, models and types are brought to market. We also welcome
all efforts of international standards bodies and manufacturers, to
date, to design and produce cost-effective AIS equipment. As these
improved or less costly devices are submitted for type approval, the
Coast Guard will decide whether they meet our requirements and the
intent of the MTSA, and if need be, we will amend this rule accordingly
to permit their use.
Twenty-one commenters stated various reasons why they opposed a
carriage requirement for AIS. Three commenters stated that AIS would
not provide increased security to vessels or ports, arguing that
knowing the location of larger, slower vessels does not eliminate any
threat and that smaller, more agile recreational vessels are more
accessible to terrorists. Seven commenters stated that AIS has very
limited security benefits, is technically limited due to its line-of-
sight range, and to the extent it does work, it works equally well for
governmental authorities and those who choose to do harm. Four
commenters stated that AIS installation will not provide vessel
operators with information on the identity of other commercial craft
not already available through basic visual or radio means. Three
commenters stated that VTS areas would not receive information on non-
applicable vessels that could pose threats. Eight commenters stated
that the estimated cost would be a burden that most companies would be
unable to bear. One commenter stated that the installation would
distract the captain's attention from surrounding non-commercial
recreational traffic and will clutter the pilothouse. One commenter
stated that AIS is an outdated technology.
We acknowledge these limitations; however, we believe that AIS has
the potential to mitigate collisions and the risk of a transportation
security incident, as defined in the MTSA. We recognize that a single
sensor, such as AIS, will not likely prevent a transportation security
incident alone, but if AIS can have a mitigating effect on just a
single collision or transportation security incident, the security
benefit could be significant. Furthermore, under the MTSA, the Coast
Guard is required to implement AIS carriage.
One commenter stated that costs for annual repairs and for the
replacement of the AIS unit need to be calculated.
The Regulatory Assessment and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act
Analysis, available in the docket for this rule (USCG-2003-14757),
included detailed estimates for annual repairs and periodic
replacement. The summary included in the temporary interim rule
reflects these costs.
One commenter believes it is inappropriate to analyze the economic
impact of the cost using the ``percentage of annual revenue that is
first-year AIS cost,'' stating that it would be more appropriate to
analyze the impact of the cost as a percentage of the net revenue of
We recognize that using net revenues to determine the cost of this
rule to small businesses would provide a more accurate picture of the
effects of this rule on those entities, however this information is not
available to the public. Thus, we used the information that is publicly
available, the percentage of annual revenue, to analyze the economic
impact of the cost of implementation on small businesses.
One commenter stated that our regulatory analysis is unclear as to
whether the benefit assessment for AIS accounts for domestic vessels
operating in VTS areas only, or applies to the entire inland waterway
In order to quantify the benefits of AIS implementation, the Coast
Guard reviewed Marine Casualty Incident Reports from 1993-1999 that
involved the vessel populations affected by the temporary interim rule.
This included domestic vessels operating in VTS areas, not the entire
inland waterway system.
One commenter agreed with our economic analysis regarding AIS and
with our assessment that the cost of AIS installation for the domestic
fleet far outweighs the benefit.
While monetized safety benefits produced a low benefit-cost ratio,
Congress mandated an AIS carriage requirement that included domestic
vessels in 46 U.S.C. 70114 of the MTSA. In addition, we believe that
AIS is critical to maritime domain awareness and, although our
assessment could not quantify or monetize the benefits of the security
contribution of AIS, we believe it has the potential to mitigate the
consequences of a transportation security incident as described in the
Nine commenters noted that AIS is duplicative of existing systems
because fishing vessels are currently equipped with Vessel Monitoring
System (VMS), which already fulfills the AIS monitoring aspect. Two
commenters requested that existing satellite tracking systems, such as
the VMS used by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) be allowed
as an alternative to the AIS requirement.
As discussed in the ``Existing AIS-Like Systems'' section of the
preamble to the temporary interim rule, there are many precursor and
competing tracking systems in use today, VMS is just one of them. VMS
is a system required by the NMFS as a means to monitor and enforce
compliance with NMFS requirements. VMS relies upon International Mobile
Satellite Organization (INMARSAT C) communication service providers to
schedule or poll, one-way, traffic reports from the vessel to NMFS.
AIS, conversely, is an open, two-way, non-proprietary system that is
autonomous and self-organizing, requiring no shoreside commands for its
operations. AIS is also a short-range VHF-FM system that provides a
vessel's location more frequently than VMS. This permits AIS to be both
a safety and security tool. Furthermore, AIS is not limited to one-way
communications or tied to proprietary software or communications
services, and AIS signals can be monitored from shore and from other
vessels to provide greater maritime domain awareness.
One commenter recommended that we rewrite the final rule in plain
language so that vessel owners and operators can easily understand the
carriage requirements and technical specifications.
We have attempted to make these final regulations as clear as
possible. However, using plain language would require a complete
rewrite of 33 CFR parts 26, 161, 164, and 165, which is beyond the
scope of this rule.
Two commenters requested that the Coast Guard allow industry
alternative programs as provided for in both facility and vessel
We are unable, at this time, to approve industry alternative
programs for AIS. We do believe that it is a subject worthy of
consideration, and welcome comments and suggestions on potential
alternative programs for the AIS carriage requirement. We have
published in the Federal Register (68 FR 55643) a notice reopening the
comment period on our previously published notice titled ``Automatic
Identification System; Expansion of Carriage Requirements for U.S.
Waters'' (USCG 2003-14878; July 1, 2003; 68 FR 39369). Please send your
comments on the use of an alternative program to that docket.
One commenter stated that the AIS regulation represents an unfunded
mandate, stating that further discussion of funding for AIS purchase
and maintenance is needed because vessel owners should not be expected
to fund this.
As stated in the temporary interim rule and below, this final rule
is exempted from assessing the effects of the regulatory action as
required by the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act because it is necessary for
the national security of the United States (2 U.S.C. 1503(5)). We are
aware of the burden this rule places on industry. In order to re-
evaluate this burden, we have amended the applicability section for
this final rule (discussed below), and will reopen the comment period
on our previously published notice titled ``Automatic Identification
System; Expansion of Carriage Requirements for U.S. Waters'' (USCG
2003-14878; July 1, 2003; 68 FR 39369).
One commenter stated that vessels carrying AIS equipment should be
released from liability whenever they are involved in a collision with
a vessel that is not carrying AIS equipment.
While we appreciate the points raised concerning potential
liability, the issue of liability is beyond the scope of this rule. No
provision of the MTSA addresses liability, either to expressly limit
liability or to address immunity from liability. Determinations of
liability require a fact-laden inquiry on a case-by-case basis, and
typically require complex analyses regarding matters such as choice of
and international conventions. Additionally, we note that carrying AIS
does not relieve mariners from following all applicable navigation
rules, and therefore may not be enough reason to relieve vessel owners
and operators of liability.
Five commenters supported our approach to AIS implementation. Three
commenters expressed enthusiastic support for the AIS system, and
agreed with the time schedule and criteria for SOLAS and domestic AIS
carriage. Two commenters supported the decision to phase-in the
requirements of the AIS regulation, and supported implementing the AIS
requirements as a security measure, rather than as a safety tool.
One commenter asked whether U.S. government research ships are
required to have AIS installed. If yes, the commenter asked what the
time frame required for this installation is. Another commenter asked
whether law enforcement and military vessels will carry AIS.
Sections 164.01(c) and 164.46(a)(1) were amended or added by the
temporary interim rule (68 FR 39367) and state that the rules do not
apply to government or non-commercial vessels. Therefore, these
regulations do not apply to military, government, or public vessels so
long as they are not used commercially. We do, however, encourage these
vessels to voluntarily use AIS, as operational conditions may warrant,
as will the Coast Guard fleet.
One commenter requested that the implementation date for AIS in the
St. Mary's River Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) area be changed to
January 31, 2005, from December 31, 2003, as published in the temporary
interim rule, arguing that the December 31, 2003, implementation date
is impractical based on vessel operations in the locks.
We agree that having the implementation deadline towards the end of
a limited shipping season is impractical, but we do not agree with
changing the date to January 31, 2005, because that date is beyond the
deadline date established by the MTSA. In response, we have amended 33
CFR 164.46(a)(3) to apply uniformly to all VTS areas by December 31,
2004. We have made conforming amendments to Sec. Sec. 164.43 and
165.1704 to reflect this change.
We received 47 comments requesting changes to the applicability of
the AIS carriage requirement. Two commenters requested that passenger
vessels be exempt from this rule. Two commenters asked why AIS is being
required on vessels 65 feet and over. Four commenters disagreed in
general with the applicability of the AIS rule. Two commenters asked
the Coast Guard to suspend the AIS requirements for the domestic fleet.
Two commenters asked that we exempt commercial marine assistance
vessels that operate in a limited geographical area. One commenter
requested that we exempt sailing vessels from the AIS requirement. One
commenter suggested that we exempt charter boats. Eleven commenters
requested that fishing vessels also be exempt from or be given a waiver
from this rule, citing high costs and minimal benefits. Eight
commenters urged the Coast Guard to amend the AIS carriage requirement
to apply to passenger vessels carrying more than 150 passengers, not 50
passengers, stating that this would ease the regulatory burden for the
most economically vulnerable companies, improve the cost-benefit ratio
for the domestic fleet, and align with the applicability requirements
in 33 CFR subchapter H. Ten commenters asked whether the requirements
for AIS carriage apply if a vessel spends periods of reduced operations
in a VTS area but conducts commercial operations only outside the VTS.
One of these commenters further added that the AIS requirement could
impose unintended consequences on VTS ports and shipyards because
owners may now decide to moor their vessels to non-VTS areas.
Congress mandated an AIS carriage requirement on commercial vessels
over 65-feet in length in 46 U.S.C. 70114, and provided explicit
deadlines for AIS in the MTSA, Sec. 102(e). Under the MTSA, the Coast
Guard is granted discretion as to which passenger vessels should be
required to have AIS. In crafting the temporary interim rule, the Coast
Guard took into consideration that Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge
Radiotelephone and Vessel Movement Reporting System (VMRS) requirements
apply to passenger vessels over 100 gross tonnage and those
certificated to carry 50 passengers, and that this population comprises
a large segment of VTS users. We believe that AIS is a key component in
providing safety and security in VTS and VMRS areas and should cover as
many vessels as practicable, including smaller passenger vessels.
Nevertheless, the Coast Guard is removing the AIS carriage requirement
for commercial fishing vessels and small passenger vessels certificated
to carry less than 151 passengers. The Coast Guard is amending Sec.
164.46(a)(3) accordingly and will reengage the public with respect to
applicability and carriage requirements for small passenger vessels and
commercial fishing vessels.
To that end, the Coast Guard published in the Federal Register (68
FR 55643) a notice that reopened the comment period on our previously
published notice titled ``Automatic Identification System; Expansion of
Carriage Requirements for U.S. Waters'' (USCG 2003-14878; July 1, 2003;
68 FR 39369). The notice reopening the comment period included
additional questions regarding expanding AIS carriage to small
passenger vessels, whether infrequent VTS users (e.g., fishing vessels)
should be exempt from the AIS requirement, and whether exemptions may
be granted by the VTS as a deviation request, as opposed to the written
notification required in 33 CFR 164.55. By this action, we hope to
generate further comments, discussion, and contributions from
prospective mandatory users of AIS that we will then consider as we
continue forward with future AIS rulemakings.
Five commenters stated that the AIS carriage requirement should be
universal, arguing that an AIS carriage requirement that does not apply
to every vessel, including recreational vessels, is of limited value as
either a security or a safety tool.
We agree that AIS would provide the greatest benefit if all vessels
were required to be equipped with an AIS unit. However, as with any new
technology, AIS carriage must be implemented prudently. Therefore, the
Coast Guard has chosen to implement AIS domestically beginning in VTS
areas (as denoted in table 161.12(c), and will consider expanding AIS
carriage to other waterways in consideration of comments received on
our previously published notice titled ``Automatic Identification
System; Expansion of Carriage Requirements for U.S. Waters'' (USCG
2003-14878; July 1, 2003; 68 FR 39369). Additionally, the AIS carriage
requirements found in the MTSA do not apply to recreational vessels.
Upon further review, we have amended Sec. 164.02 to clarify
applicability for foreign vessels.
One commenter supported the AIS unit standardization proposal
presented in the temporary interim rule.
One commenter asked if vessels that use an electronic chart to
display AIS targets must have the chart updated and corrected to the
latest Broadcast Notice to Mariners. The same commenter also asked if a
vessel would still have to carry nautical charts if it uses an
Electronic Chart Display and
Information System (ECDIS) to display AIS targets.
Mariners are advised that U.S. regulations or SOLAS requirements
have always called for paper charts that are relied upon for the
navigation of the vessel to be correct and up to date, regardless of
whether they have AIS or can view vessels on an electronic chart.
One commenter expressed concerns over the electronic display of AIS
data, stating that the technical limitations of commercial radar or
ECDIS to merge data from the AIS is an issue.
We acknowledge the concerns expressed by the commenter. There are
no international standards, at this time, for a manufacturer to rely
upon to assure AIS buyers that an AIS may be properly integrated into
other display devices. All AIS units come with a display that allows
the user to input AIS information (e.g., vessel identity, dimensions,
navigation status, antenna location) and to access all information
received from other units. AIS also has multiple output options that
facilitate using or integrating AIS data on other navigational systems,
such as radar, Advanced Radar Plotting Aid (ARPA), ECDIS, and
electronic charts. We have purposely not required this integration, or
chosen a one-size fits all approach to graphical displays, in order to
leave the choice with the mariner, who is best positioned to decide
which output option suits the mariner's vessel and operation.
Additionally, we are working diligently on this matter, commissioning
the Transportation Research Board to develop recommendations for us,
and working with various standards bodies to develop guidelines and
One commenter stated that the IMO guidelines on installation of AIS
devices might not be well suited for smaller vessels.
We agree; the IMO Installation Guidelines (particularly regarding
antenna placement) are not well suited for smaller vessels. We will
develop further guidelines to assist these vessel owners and operators
with the installation of their AIS, and will place a copy in the docket
and post a copy on our website at
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/enav/ais/AIS_carriage_reqmts.htm as soon as we have completed these guidelines. One commenter asked whether AIS would require a backup power source. Given the importance and value of AIS data to possible search and rescue efforts, we have begun work with IMO to require back-up power requirements, similar to those imposed on Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) equipment. Should these requirements be adopted by IMO, we will propose regulatory amendments in a separate rulemaking to do the same for those vessels subject to SOLAS and strongly encourage the same on other vessels that transit the high seas. Five commenters asked the Coast Guard to consider its ability to develop and support the public infrastructure necessary to fully support AIS and the availability of the radio-frequency bandwidth, citing the Coast Guard's recent history with similar projects (e.g., GMDSS). Five commenters asked us to resolve questions involving frequency allocation, stating that vessel operators should not be required to keep track of different frequency requirements and manually adjust their AIS units for each VTS area. Three commenters stated that it is up to the Coast Guard, not the FCC, to ensure that frequencies are available for AIS use. We have considered our ability to develop and support the public infrastructure necessary to fully support AIS. We have chosen to require carriage of AIS in those areas that are being upgraded through our Ports and Waterways Safety System acquisition program. The Coast Guard does not have the authority to designate frequencies for AIS use, therefore, we requested and received frequency authorizations from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunication and Information Agency (NTIA). Pending a rulemaking by FCC, we rely on the FCC decision stated in FCC Notice DA-02-1362 that states that the Commission ``will consider the use of shipborne AIS equipment to be authorized by existing ship station licenses, including vessels that are licensed by rule.'' We agree that the operation of AIS should be seamless to the user, who should not be required to manually adjust their AIS units for each VTS area. FCC policies currently authorize the use of AIS frequencies (AIS1, Channel 87B, 161.975 MHz and AIS2, Channel 88B, 162.025 MHz) on existing ship station licenses. Should AIS frequency management be required due to the unavailability of AIS1 or AIS2 in any one VTS area, we intend to have the infrastructure in place to perform frequency management through the base station capabilities of AIS. Five commenters stated that interference to adjacent channels would potentially result in the loss of property and life at sea. AIS devices must fully comply with ITU and IEC standards and undergo an additional level of review not applicable to most other FCC type certified devices prior to being authorized to operate in the VHF marine band. Further, IMO has developed detailed guidelines (IMO SN/ Circ. 227) to be followed regarding the installation of AIS. These guidelines have been incorporated by reference into this regulation, as a requirement, in 33 CFR 164.03 and 164.46. Notwithstanding this requirement, as is the case with any radiating or receiving radio device, there is always a possibility for radio interference when numerous emission devices are operating in the near vicinity of each other, particularly in a congested and noisy environment as exists on the VHF FM maritime band. The Coast Guard will be diligent in monitoring AIS use for interferences and will promptly mitigate them by enforcing the required installation guidelines, through the AIS type approval process, and through frequency plan coordination with existing public coast station licensees. One commenter noted that the interference to adjacent channels from the currently adopted AIS carriage requirement is an unconstitutional taking of private property without just compensation. The Coast Guard does not believe the MTSA or these regulations effect a taking, inter alia, because these regulations rely on FCC decisions to authorize existing shipboard licensees to operate AIS on the AIS frequencies. See FCC Public Notice DA-02-1622 (June 13, 2002). Additionally, we do not believe that the commenter's license constitutes a sufficient property interest to justify its position that this regulation constitutes a ``taking.'' Finally, even assuming, without admitting that there is a legally cognizable property interest in the commenter's license, this regulation does not create such an interference with the commenter's use of that license as to constitute a regulatory taking in violation of the Constitution. One commenter asked whether a fleet manager could buy an AIS base station to assist with the company dispatch and logistics. Shoreside AIS stations, mistakenly referred to by some as AIS base stations, are subject to FCC regulation and licensing. FCC Notice DA- 02-1362 permits the use of AIS by ship station licenses but did not address its similar use by VHF shore stations. Shoreside AIS stations enhance the AIS network because they control matters regarding frequency management, power setting, and allocation of AIS data slots, which are all functions that will be performed by the Coast Guard or another government entity. Three commenters stated that the utility of AIS is considerably diminished if the system, as installed, is not capable of relaying information from [[Page 60564]] an automatic position indicating system and gyrocompass. We recognize that the information provided by external sensors, such as a transmitting heading device, speed log, or navigation lights, to an AIS in accordance with the standards incorporated by reference in this regulation will provide the additional benefit to the user, as would integrating AIS with the existing on board navigation equipment. However, this integration technology and its accompanying standards are still being developed, thus, we did not require them. Each U.S. type approved AIS has a timing and positioning component built-in (e.g., Global Positioning System) and the lack of additional sensor input does not diminish the utility of the AIS in providing for security and navigational safety. One commenter asked whether AIS is an electronic aid to navigation as that term is used in 33 CFR 66.01-1, which states: ``With the exception of radar beacons (racons) and shore-based radar stations, operation of electronic aids to navigation as private aids will not be authorized.'' AIS is a navigational aid, but not necessarily an aid to navigation, as that term is used in 33 CFR part 66. In addition to increasing maritime domain awareness for security purposes, shipborne AIS is intended for collision avoidance, and not intended to be relied upon or referred to, as a buoy, lighthouse, or racon would be. AIS standards allow for the creation of AIS aids to navigation, and should we choose to use these aids, they will be catalogued in the Coast Guard's Light List as all other aids to navigation currently are. One commenter stated that the Coast Guard must resolve questions over patent rights for the AIS standard prior to implementing a domestic carriage requirement. Prospective AIS users should not be concerned with any patent issues regarding AIS or any other shipboard equipment. These are matters that need only be worked out by manufacturers of the devices and any patent holders. One commenter asked whether vessels would be required to provide a Maritime Mobile Service Identifier (MMSI) and Universal Time Coordinated (UTC), stating that not all vessels currently have an MMSI.
This commenter also asked how a vessel operator can be confident that
the target identified on an AIS is who it says it is, if AIS units can
be purchased from any commercial source, and an MMSI obtained from an
One goal of AIS is to lessen the reporting required by mariners.
However, certain information and data input is necessary for the proper
operation of an AIS. Many of these data fields are inputted only once,
such as the vessel's identity, MMSI, dimensions, and antenna location.
MMSI and UTC are critical to AIS; the MMSI (defined in note 1 to Table
161.12(c) of 33 CFR 161.12), which we have amended for clarity,
provides a unique identifier for each AIS user, and the UTC is relied
upon by the system to properly manage the AIS data link and network.
UTC is provided internally by the AIS unit, and requires no input by
the user. MMSI does need to be entered by the user, and is noted on the
ship's station radio license issued by the FCC. Because user error is
always possible, we urge users to be vigilant and request that you
notify the nearest COTP if you encounter improper AIS usage.
One commenter recommended rewording Sec. 164.46(a) because as
presently drafted it could be incorrectly interpreted to mean that
manufacturer self-certification of equipment to the listed standards
would be sufficient.
We agree and have amended Sec. 164.46(a) to require ``type
One commenter stated that AIS is unnecessary because collision
avoidance is best accomplished with an alert watch that is monitoring
VHF channels, radar, GPS chart plotters, and depth sounders. This
commenter stated that these technologies are already found on fishing
vessels and it is not apparent that the addition of AIS will result in
any significant benefit over maintaining a good watch.
We agree that competent and attentive watchkeeping is paramount to
prudent navigation. We further note that prudent mariners are required
to use all means available to avoid a collision. AIS is the latest
navigation system to assist watchkeepers in the performance of their
duties. None of the existing technologies found on commercial fishing
vessels can accurately identify other vessels to the extent that AIS
can. Additionally, in our analysis of costs and benefits, we found
examples of marine casualties involving commercial fishing vessels that
could have been prevented or mitigated with the use of AIS. More
details on these casualties can be found in the Regulatory Assessment
and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis located in the docket
for this rule (USCG-2003-14757).
One commenter asked us several questions regarding whether use of
an AIS would satisfy various ``Rules of the Road'' under the
International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) or
the Inland Navigation Rules (33 U.S.C. 2000 and 1201, et seq.), such as
the requirement for a lookout, the provision regarding safe speed,
provisions regarding risk of collision, and coordinating passing
AIS is the latest of the available means a mariner will have to
prevent collisions at sea. It is not intended to replace any of the
existing means commonly and traditionally used by mariners to ascertain
the risk of collision such as radar, Automatic Radar Plotting Aids
(ARPA), lookouts, binoculars, visual bearings, relative position
maneuvering boards, and EDCIS, but it can certainly supplement them.
AIS provides mariners with near real-time information regarding another
vessel's identity, dimensions, speed over ground, course over ground,
navigation status, and heading. It will aid mariners in identifying
other vessels in restricted visibility, and those that would be
indistinguishable in radar sea clutter. It displays the bearing and
range of other AIS-equipped vessels and provides another means of
reliable communication by using ship-to-ship addressed text messages.
In the future VTSs will be able to relay information on vessels not
carrying AIS to AIS users. However, AIS should not be relied upon as
the sole means to determine risk of collision, safe speed, or to avoid
In the temporary interim rule, we discussed that AIS can assist
mariners in coordinating passing arrangements. AIS will allow mariners
to accurately identify a vessel by name and call sign to effectively
make passing arrangements, thus replacing vague radio calls such as
``vessel off my port bow'' with more descriptive calls such as ``vessel
NAME/Call sign, bearing XXX degrees and XX meters.'' While AIS allows
for ship-to-ship text messaging to communicate with others and make
passing arrangements, these private communications do not meet the
requirements of the Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone Act (33
U.S.C. 1201 et seq.) for open broadcasts on the designated bridge-to-
bridge channel, nor does it relieve a vessel operator from the
requirement to sound whistle signals.
Three commenters asked the Coast Guard to test AIS on vessels on
the Lower Mississippi River, stating that previous tests were not
We do not believe that additional testing on the Lower Mississippi
is necessary prior to implementation. The Coast Guard conducted
exhaustive testing of precursor AIS in cooperation with stakeholders on
the Lower Mississippi River. We detailed this testing in the ``AIS
Testing'' section of the preamble to the AIS temporary interim rule (68
FR 39357). We also conducted tests with the AIS being required in this
regulation (ITU-R M.1371-1) in other VTS areas, and monitored similar
tests conducted in other countries. However, the Coast Guard will
continue to conduct system acceptance testing of the newly installed
AIS shoreside network in the Lower Mississippi River.
Five commenters stated that AIS should require only minimal
information from vessel operators, so that the information flow to and
from AIS does not distract vessel operators from their other duties.
We agree that AIS users should not be burdened unnecessarily. One
goal of AIS is to unburden mariners from the important, although
tedious, tasks of reporting information to a VTS. Through AIS these
reports are automated and additional voyage data may be transmitted.
Whether vessels are required to supply this additional data (people on
board, destination, and estimated time of arrival) will be determined
by the VTS, which will take into consideration the reporting exemptions
listed in 33 CFR 161.23.
One commenter asked whether the operator of a vessel entering a
VMRS area must call the VTS on a VHF voice channel and whether the VTS
will notify users of required actions by message or on VHF voice
This rule mandates AIS position reports in lieu of VTS voice
reports; however, it does not abolish the requirements set forth in 33
CFR part 161 regarding deviation requests, monitoring requirements,
sailing plans, and final reports. Additionally, VTS and VTS users
should still rely upon VHF voice communications on the designated VTS
frequencies as the primary mode of VTS communication. VTS areas will
eventually supplement these broadcasts with pertinent AIS text or
One commenter asked whether a vessel could use AIS as a tool even
if the vessel it is communicating with is not in sight, citing
confusion with the COLREGS and Inland Navigation Rules Eleven to
Inland Navigation Rule Three clearly states that vessels are deemed
to be in sight of one another only when one can be observed visually
from the other, not when observed electronically (e.g., AIS or radar).
However, AIS-like radar--is still a useful tool to use when making
navigational decisions prior to being in the sight of another vessel.
One commenter asked for clarification on the training requirements
for an AIS operator.
At this time, we envision no additional training requirements other
than reading the AIS owner's manual and being familiar with operation
of the AIS. However, mariners seeking a greater understanding of AIS
and its uses may wish to read a document developed by the International
Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities
(IALA) titled ``IALA Guidelines on the Universal Automatic
Identification System (AIS), Volume 1, Part 1--Operational Issues,
Edition 1.1, December 2002,'' that is available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.iala-aism.org One commenter asked how many vessels are displayed on an AIS when a vessel is in a crowded harbor. AIS is designed to provide information on a minimum of the 20 closest active AIS targets. Editorial The temporary interim rule contained a typographical error, which is corrected in this rule. In Sec. Sec. 164.03 and 164.46, the IMO circular ``Guidelines for Installation of Shipborne Automatic Identification System (AIS), dated January 6, 2003'' should have been titled ``SN/Circ.227'' vice ``SN/Circ.277.'' We have also added a note to 33 CFR 164.46(a) to clarify which international tonnage convention is being identified. Procedural Five commenters requested a longer comment period specifically for the AIS temporary interim rule. We did not extend the comment period on this rule due to the need to follow the MTSA's statutory deadline for issuance of regulations. We acknowledge that these regulations are being implemented in a short period of time. We have, however, reopened the comment period on our previously published notice titled ``Automatic Identification System; Expansion of Carriage Requirements for U.S. Waters'' (USCG 2003-14878; July 1, 2003; 68 FR 39369). Incorporation by Reference The Director of the Federal Register has approved the material in Sec. 164.03 for incorporation by reference under 5 U.S.C. 552 and 1 CFR part 51. You may inspect this material at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters where indicated under ADDRESSES. Copies of the material are available from the sources listed in Sec. 164.03. Regulatory Assessment This final rule is a ``significant regulatory action'' under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review. The Office of Management and Budget has reviewed it under that Order. It requires an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. It is significant under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Homeland Security. A final assessment is available in the docket as indicated under ADDRESSES. A summary of the assessment and changes from the draft assessment follows. Cost Assessment This final rule is requiring the carriage of AIS on all U.S. flag SOLAS vessels, certain domestic vessels in VTS areas, and foreign flag vessels less than 300 gross tonnage that call on ports in the U.S. We estimate that 438 U.S. flag SOLAS vessels, 2,963 non-SOLAS domestic vessels, and 70 non-SOLAS foreign vessels will be affected by this final rule. The estimated total present value cost of this final rule is $50.4 million (where the period of analysis is 2003-2012). An estimated present value $5.2 million is for the U.S. flag SOLAS fleet, $44.1 million is for the domestic, non-SOLAS fleet in VTS areas, and $1.1 million is for the foreign, non-SOLAS fleet that call on ports in the U.S. In the first year of implementation, the estimated cost is $1.9 million for the U.S. flag SOLAS fleet, $27.6 million for the domestic, non-SOLAS fleet in VTS areas, and less than $1 million for the foreign, non-SOLAS fleet. Following initial implementation, the estimated annual cost is less than $1 million for the entire affected population. Safety Benefits The Coast Guard expects both quantifiable and non-quantifiable benefits as a result of the final rule. Quantified benefits include avoided property damage, injuries, fatalities, and pollution events as a result of having an AIS. Other benefits include better situational awareness, information, and communications. The final rule will also enhance Coast Guard missions such as marine safety and security, aids to navigation, and maritime mobility. In order to quantify the benefits of AIS implementation, the Coast Guard reviewed Marine Casualty Incident Reports (MCIRs) from 1993-1999 that involved the vessel populations affected by this final rule. These incidents were [[Page 60566]] used to develop a historical rate of marine casualties in VTS areas to determine the effectiveness of AIS as a mitigating factor. The estimated total present value benefit of the final rule is $24.4 million (2003-2012). An estimated present value $13.3 million is for the U.S. flag SOLAS fleet, $11.1 million is for the domestic, non- SOLAS fleet in VTS areas. We did not find any quantified safety benefits for the foreign, non-SOLAS fleet. Security Benefits This final rule is one of six final rules that implement national maritime security initiatives concerning general provisions, Area Maritime Security (ports), vessels, facilities, Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) facilities, and AIS. The Coast Guard used the National Risk Assessment Tool (N-RAT) to assess benefits that would result from increased security for vessels, facilities, OCS facilities, and areas. The N-RAT considers threat, vulnerability, and consequences for several maritime entities in various security-related scenarios. For a more detailed discussion on the N-RAT and how we employed this tool, refer to ``Applicability of National Maritime Security Initiatives'' in the temporary interim rule titled ``Implementation of National Maritime Security Initiatives'' (68 FR 39243) (part 101). For this benefit assessment, the Coast Guard used a team to calculate a risk score for each entity and scenario before and after the implementation of required security measures. The difference in before and after scores indicated the benefit of the proposed action. We recognized that the final rules are a ``family'' of rules that will reinforce and support one another in their implementation. We have ensured, however, that risk reduction that is credited in one rule is not also credited in another. For a more detailed discussion on the benefit assessment and how we addressed the potential to double-count the risk reduced, refer to ``Benefit Assessment'' in the temporary interim rule titled ``Implementation of National Maritime Security Initiatives'' (68 FR 39274) (part 101). We determined annual risk points reduced for each of the six final rules using the N-RAT. The benefits are apportioned among the vessel, facility, OCS facility, area, and AIS rules. As shown in Table 1, the implementation of AIS for the affected population reduces 1,422 risk points annually through 2012. The benefits attributable for part 101, General Provisions, were not considered separately since this part is an overarching section for all the parts. Table 1.--Annual Risk Points Reduced by the Final Rules ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Annual risk points reduced by final rule ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Maritime entity Vessel Facility OCS facility security security security AMS AIS ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vessels......................... 778,633 3,385 3,385 3,385 1,317
Facilities...................... 2,025 469,686 .............. 2,025 ..............
OCS Facilities.................. 41 .............. 9,903 .............. ..............
Port Areas...................... 587 587 .............. 129,792 105
Total....................... 781,285 473,659 13,288 135,202 1,422
Once we determined the annual risk points reduced, we discounted
these estimates to their present value (7 percent discount rate, 2003-
2012) so that they could be compared to the costs. We presented cost
effectiveness, or dollars per risk point reduced, in two ways: First,
we compared the first-year cost and first-year benefit because first-
year cost is the highest in our assessment as companies develop
security plans and purchase equipment. Second, we compared the 10-year
present value cost and the 10-year present value benefit. The results
of our assessment are presented in Table 2.
Table 2.--First-Year and 10-Year Present Value Cost and Benefit of the Final Rules
Item Vessel Facility OCS facility
security security security AMS AIS *
First-Year Cost (millions)...... $218 $1,125 $3 $120 $30
First-Year Benefit.............. 781,285 473,659 13,288 135,202 1,422
First-Year Cost Effectiveness ($/ 279 2,375 205 890 21,224
Risk Point Reduced)............
10-Year Present Value Cost 1,368 5,399 37 477 26
10-Year Present Value Benefit... 5,871,540 3,559,655 99,863 1,016,074 10,687
10-Year Present Value Cost 233 1,517 368 469 2,427
Effectiveness ($/Risk Point
* Cost less monetized safety benefit.
Although we have quantified these security benefits relative to
AIS, the N-RAT is limited in its ability to measure benefits
attributable to intelligence or information gathering. These
limitations are discussed in the ``Assessment Limitations'' section in
the preamble of the temporary interim rule titled ``Implementation of
National Maritime Security Initiatives'' (USCG-2003-14792).
Congress mandated an AIS carriage requirement on domestic (non-
SOLAS) vessels in 46 U.S.C. 70114, and provided an explicit phase-in
schedule for AIS in section 102(e) of the MTSA. Strictly upon
monetized safety benefits, as measured through decreased collisions and
the resulting decrease in injuries, mortalities, and pollution
incidents, the cost of AIS installation for the domestic fleet far
outweighs the benefit over a 10-year period (0.25 benefit-cost ratio).
This ratio results from the high costs of purchasing and installing the
unit (an estimated $9,330 per vessel), and the types of marine
casualties that AIS is expected to mitigate, where damage is not
usually severe nor is there significant loss of life. In view of the
benefit-cost ratio presented above, the Coast Guard has shared with the
Congress all significant information provided by the public that
addresses the reasonableness of implementing the statute. A copy of
this letter is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.
Because there is not yet a mass market for AIS, the cost per unit
in the next few years, when the domestic fleet is required to purchase
AIS, is likely to be higher than when it is replaced (around 2012).
Because the AIS market is in its infancy, we cannot estimate how much
the unit cost will decrease over the next decade. If many manufacturers
enter the market, costs are likely to drop through competition. Because
manufacturers have a potential world market and a significant U.S.
market, many may attempt to capture a segment. Conversely, if only a
few players emerge worldwide, AIS costs could remain high. Because
manufacturers must engage in a rigorous approval process and cannot be
assured that they will recoup research and development costs through
unit sales, there is the potential that only a few dominant players
will emerge in the AIS market. Because we cannot determine the trend of
the AIS market and we did not want to understate the cost for AIS, we
assumed that the cost for units in 2012 would again be approximately
$9,000 per unit. It is possible that an AIS unit will not be this
expensive to replace.
In terms of security, we estimated that we will not experience a
significant benefit from a decrease in risk, as measured in risk points
reduced in the N-RAT, as a result of AIS installation. There are two
primary reasons for this estimate. First, the N-RAT was an internal
Coast Guard tool that was modified to estimate the national benefits
attributable to the suite of security rules mandated by the MTSA. The
tool was not designed to measure the security benefits of AIS
specifically. The N-RAT does not, therefore, robustly capture the risk
mitigation potential of AIS. Second, the Coast Guard strongly believes
that AIS is critical to maritime domain awareness. However, we are
unable to quantify or monetize the benefits of this Coast Guard mission
or the individual contribution of AIS to it.
While the monetized benefit of the rule does not exceed its cost,
the Coast Guard believes that AIS has the potential to mitigate a
transportation security incident. The Coast Guard recognizes that a
single sensor, such as AIS, will not likely prevent a transportation
security incident alone--but if AIS can have a mitigating effect on
just a single incident, the security benefit could be significant. The
Coast Guard must consider AIS in its suite of security rules and has
developed a final rule that considers the mandates of the MTSA in light
of the high initial costs of purchasing the unit by requiring AIS in
VTS areas only for the domestic fleet. We are concentrating our efforts
in VTS areas since this is where we can begin accruing the most
benefit--for industry, the public, and the Coast Guard--in the shortest
period of time. However in response to public comment, in Sec.
164.46(a)(1) and (a)(2)(i), we have removed the carriage requirement of
the temporary interim rule for commercial fishing vessels and some
small passenger vessels. Through this final rule we are attempting to
maximize the return on investment as quickly and as effectively as
Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have
considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact
on a substantial number of small entities. The term ``small entities''
comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are
independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields,
and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. We
have reviewed this final rule for potential economic impacts on small
entities. A Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis discussing the impact
of this rule on small entities is available in the docket where
indicated under ADDRESSES.
Number and Types of Small Entities Affected
U.S. Flag SOLAS Vessels
Of the affected population, we estimated that of the 438 total U.S.
flag SOLAS vessels, 205 are owned by 122 small businesses. The
remaining 233 vessels are owned by approximately 40 large companies.
We estimated the cost of an AIS unit per vessel in the first year
will be $9,330. Of this, $7,000 is for the AIS unit, $2,000 is for
installation, and $330 is for mariner training. We estimated that
following installation, each AIS will require $250 in annual
maintenance to replace such items as the antenna, keyboard, and display
screen. We estimated that the entire unit will be replaced after eight
We found that annual maintenance costs will have a less-than-1-
percent impact on annual revenue for all small businesses with U.S.
flag SOLAS vessels. First-year impacts to small businesses, therefore,
are the focus of this analysis. To estimate the revenue impact on small
businesses in the first year, the cost per vessel for AIS, $9,330, was
multiplied by the number of vessels owned by each company, then divided
by the average annual revenue for each company, as reported in the
online databases. Of the 122 small businesses that own U.S. flag SOLAS
vessels, we found revenue for 59 of them (48 percent). Table 3 presents
the revenue impact for the 59 entities with known average annual
Table 3.--Effect of First-Year Cost on Average Annual Revenue for Small
Entities Owning U.S. Flag SOLAS Vessels
Number of Percent of
Percent of annual revenue that is first-year with known with known
AIS cost annual annual
0-3........................................... 43 73