Panama Canal implements AIS

On 1 July 2003 the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) implemented its mandatory requirements for the carriage of Automatic Identification Systems (AIS ) in Panama Canal waters for vessels over 300 Gross Tons or 20 metres LOA. The AIS transponders must meet the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Standards.

INTERTANKO had made representation to the ACP when they began working on the issue and proposed that if they decided to support early implementation of AIS, then it should be on a voluntary basis by those vessels already equipped with AIS.

SOLAS 74, as amended by the Diplomatic Conference held last December, requires that AIS be fitted to tankers not later than the first survey for safety equipment on or after 1 July 2003.

From 1 July 2003,as a temporary measure for any vessel not yet fitted with AIS, the Panama Canal Authority will provide AIS units for a nominal fee of USD 150.00.

The relevant reminder Advisory to Shipping No A-09-2003 can be found on the Panama Canal web site.

Contact: Philip Shenton