Operators are reminded that as from 1 July 2012, all vessels fitted with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) will be required to have their AIS equipment tested annually. The test should be conducted during the first Passenger Ship Safety, Cargo Ship Safety Equipment, Cargo Ship Safety Radio or Cargo Ship Safety Certificate survey (as applicable) after 1 July 2012. The survey is to be carried out by a qualified inspector authorised by the Administration or Recognised Organisation.
The new requirement is set out in IMO Resolution MSC.308(88) under new regulation 18.9 to Chapter V of SOLAS which states:
"The automatic identification system (AIS) shall be subject to an annual test. The test shall be conducted by an approved surveyor or an approved testing or servicing facility. The test shall verify the correct programming of the ship static information, correct data exchange with connected sensors as well as verifying the radio performance by radio frequency measurement and on-air test using, e.g., a Vessel Traffic Service (VTS). A copy of the test report shall be retained on board the ship".
Further information on the testing of AIS units can be found in IMO MSC.1/Circ.1252 "Guidelines on Annual Testing of the Automatic Identification System (AIS)".
Source: The West of England P&I Club