Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 24-06-2018, 22:26   #1
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 16,570
Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

Below, please find the text from sv Crystal Blues blog, which i have presented here for discussion, with the permission of the author. The pictures would be helpful, but I was unable to get them to copy. If you want to see what they look like, and the screen shots, I am sure you can go to their blog. The spaces between paragraphs are where the pics should also be. Here is a link to their blog, if you want to see the whole thing, which is only fair! http://svcrystalblues.blogspot.com/2...s-to.html#more



Monday, 18 June 2018
Dangerous AIS Targets? New Challenges To Safe Navigation

A Busy Waterway, However The AIS Fish Beacons Give Me Great Fears


















Heading north around Cape Hatteras a few weeks back, we found ourselves facing a number of targets along our intended course - only some were more dangerous than others. That green target at top right of the image (36870200) was an American aircraft carrier performing incredibly tight turns and circles - but that wasn't the danger. Neither was the fast moving target to the left of our track (the track in black), which was the Captain Caden, a 21 meter fishing vessel out of Barnegat Bay.


FV Handful & Four Local AIS Beacons
The real danger was that tiny cluster of targets on our starboard side - the US flagged fishing vessel Handful, seen here with a cluster of AIS beacons around it (note : this image, and those that follow, is produced by replaying our voyage on our ECDIS type nav system. The target shapes are different when in navigation mode). If we zoom in (at right), the picture becomes more clear - one primary AIS target, being the fishing vessel Handful itself, plus a cluster of four AIS fish net beacons floating around her. Fish net beacons, using AIS. Hmm. OK, read my lips. Say after me. This is not good....

The AIS system was devised and built as a safety system for vessels under management. It was not built as an identification system for unmanned, unpowered fish net and long line floats that do not ask questions and cannot correct their course. If the technology is used for net tracking, the targets should display with a clearly different icon or graphic on screen. But they do not. They look just like ships on screen.

The IMO (International Maritime Organisation) has published guidelines for the display of navigation related symbols on screen (read them here) and no fishing target beacons are included. The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation has published a draft paper (read it here) on marking of fishing gear, which acknowledges the illegal nature of AIS fishing beacons, but doesn't come down against them.

Thanks to Ben Ellison, author of the excellent PANBO marine electronics blog, I obtained the following information from a US Coast Guard website :

"18. Can I use AIS to mark nets, pots, traps, moorings, or as a race mark, etc.? There are no outright prohibitions to use AIS (i.e. AIS AtoN) as a marker (see Types of AIS and IALA Recommendation 1016 – Mobile Marine Aids to Navigation). However, it is not permissible to do so with equipment intended for use on vessels, (i.e. AIS Class A or B devices), for lifesaving (i.e. AIS SART, MOB AIS, EPIRB AIS), or with devices that are not FCC certified and licensed. See 47 CFR 2.803, 2.805, 2.301, and 80.13 regarding licensing, station identity, and the prohibition to sell, market, or use radio devices that are not FCC authorized (search, Equipment Class: AIS)." It appears then that so long as these devices are FCC approved, they can be used at sea. But are they FCC approved?


So, what has gone wrong? Firstly, Chinese manufacturers have seized on an opportunity to use AIS electronic packages as fish net beacons, though without any approvals from relevant international AIS scheme managers. Secondly, US fisherman keen to track their nets (at very low cost) have seized on these tools and deployed them, even though they are illegal under US law (my opinion). In fact you can't buy these readily in the USA - you have to order them online through Ali-Baba or one of the foreign web supply chains.



















Above is the Ova fishing buoy beacon, sold out of China on the internet for not much over US$100.00, waterproof to 10 meters, and it comes pre-programmed with it's own MMSI number. Wait a minute - how did that happen? An MMSI number is supposed to be a Maritime Mobile Service Identifier - a number that identifies a vessel and an owner and tracks back to the national registration of the identified vessel.

Who ever heard of MMSI numbers being issued by the factory that built the product.... geez. They are supposed to be issued by the country of registration!

Then there are other brands and models - in fact there are so many models that there is an entire market place on the web where you can buy these (illegal) devices. Check out the page at this address. Many are shipped with software on disk plus a cable that allows the user to program the MMSI number - now this is completely illegal under US FCC regulations.

Many fisherman, reading this story, will be wondering what the heck I'm complaining about - OK so it's illegal, but where is the harm? In fact it could be that the fisherman are doing us a favor by identifying nets and floats that otherwise would be invisible to us at night. However until these beacons can be identified easily on screen as floating beacons (and not ships), then I believe that some dangerous situations are being created. Read on for the story on that ....

Illegal AIS Fishing Beacons - The Problem

941 Prefix Is Illegal Transponder

The image at right shows us approaching a series of the illegal buoys - there are five in evidence here, though in reality their were eight AIS markers attached to the fishing lines. Of course we didn't know they were beacons - we thought it was a fleet of fishing boats ... the system doesn't provide any discrimination on screen.

Problem is, they are so low to the water that the signals also drop in and out constantly, with no consistancy on the screen of the approaching vessel. It's very confusing. Further, most of these net or line arrangements have an escort vessel that keeps an eye on the harvest - yet in this case the fisherman responsible did not even put a proper AIS transponder on the escort boat.

Flying up the gulf stream at night, we had numerous intermittent AIS targets that we could not see or correlate on radar, plus one obvious boat target on radar that did not even have an AIS transponder.

Now, please look at the fast moving target (number 211801000) heading straight into the array of illegal targets. At about 18 knots. We spoke with the officer of the watch on this ship (Northern Monument, a 300 meter container ship) and asked if he knew what these targets were..... his response is truly sobering, and scary. "'m not sure what they are, I am so confused". He was confused enough to hold course and plow on through the target area- maybe he dragged a few illegal buoys down and destroyed them.

The issue here is that we really don't want ship captains being so confused that they ignore AIS targets in front of them and just plow on without care. Really, what is the point of a safety system that is no longer safe?

Targets Appearing Dead Ahead

Illegal AIS Fishing Beacons - Observed Behavior

These little beacons have up to 5 watts of power, so in theory they should be reliably visible for some distance. But that is not the case - because they exist very close to the water level, they tend to drop in and out on our viewing screens, sometimes there, sometimes not. The closer we get to them, the more difficult they are to receive.

This isn't a problem for the fisherman - they already know the general area they are searching, however it is a problem for other navigators. They can pop up at the last possible minute, right in front of you - and when you look ahead in daytime nothing is there, and when you look on radar nothing is there. Suddenly the whole AIS system reliability is thrown into question. On screen, they look like a fleet of ships, when you can see them.

In the image at right the fishing boat Sea Angel is attending the nets, however that target right in front of our bow has just popped up. We really didn't have time to avoid it, and it went past on port side about 10 meters away. Way too close.

Professional fishing friends tell me that these transponders were not actually attached to nets - rather it was Mahi Mahi season on the coast, and the transponders were on baited long lines attracting the big Mahi fish.

Two Ships On Port, Two Illegal Targets Ahead

At this point I need to re-state the obvious :

- The AIS system was built to enhance safety for ships at sea
- In the USA, all AIS devices must be programmed and identified by the dealer or installing technician - End users must not be able to program the MMSI number.
- AIS beacons are now manufactured for other applications, such as personal man overboard emergencies.
- However there are no industry standards (that I'm aware of) that support AIS technology being used for tracking nets or long lines.

It is unfortunate that these illegal beacons are being purchased by fisherman and deployed in shipping lanes. The result is that ships officers may now be less inclined to alter course when they see an AIS target in front of them. It's a massive step backward in safety for all mariners, because the illegal beacons display on screen using the same icon / graphic as a normal ship. Many of the beacons we observed were programmed with the name of the escort vessel - so they displayed a ship name and graphic. Very confusing and bound to cause an accident at some point.

This whole situation could be rectified if the AIS system governing bodies could agree on a unique display icon / graphic for fishing beacons - that way we could sort out the big dangerous targets from the small (less dangerous) targets. Right now its a confusing and dangerous mess.
Posted by SV Crystal Blues at 13:37

Labels: Cruising, Fishing, Navigation, Safety, Systems, Technology, USA
Location: Cape Hatteras
2 comments:

SV Crystal Blues19 June 2018 at 23:12
After forwarding this story to the US Coast Guard we received a very prompt response from them, as follows : "given their use of an illegitimate MMSI number(s) and other erroneous data in their broadcast it is most likely that they one of the illicit devices also shown on your webpage. We are well aware of the proliferation of these devices, notwithstanding our and the FCC best efforts to shutdown outlets that have tried to sell here in the U.S. Next month we are poised to publish a Public Notice which will hopefully get the word out to their users, and heed them to cease and desist. Note, these and other Autonomous Maritime Radio Devices (AMRD) are a worldwide issue being addressed at the International Maritime Organization and International Telecommunications Union (see attached). Hopefully, in the not too distant future we will have a better paradigm for their legitimate use, beyond what is already permitted under the AIS Aids to Navigation station approval." So it appears the USCG is on the case, and things may improve in the future.

Reply

SV Crystal Blues19 June 2018 at 23:20
Last night I had dinner with an East Coast professional fisherman, a friend, who also believes these beacons should not be in use. He's on his way to La Jolla (CA) this weekend for a board meeting of the Seafood Harvesters group, and will raise this issue with them. That group includes representatives of all the commercial fishing operations around the USA.


*********************

I apologize to the Crystal Blues' for not being able to make the pictures come through--it is my lack of skill.

However, for all those who are interested in the snowbird trek, these are a new and present hazard. And the more people are informed, the better off the seagoing folk will be.
__________________

__________________
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 02:35   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
atoll's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: gettin naughty on the beach in cornwall
Boat: 63 custom alloy sloop,macwester26,prout snowgoose 37 elite catamaran!
Posts: 9,895
Images: 75
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

this reminds me of sailing around the philipines where quite often the wooden and bamboo trimaran fishing "Bankas" capable of 25 knots, substitute an orange for red and blue for green navigation lights,they also use hundreds of tiny flashing fishing float lights on their nets making navigation through the fleet and nets hazardous especially since being wooden the vessels don't show up well on radar.

AIS fishing transponders as you describe would be in many SE asian waters a great improvement to safe navigation!
__________________

__________________
my catamaran building project updates https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ft-103739.html
atoll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 02:44   #3
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Helsinki (Summer); Cruising the Baltic Sea this year!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 25,147
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
. . .AIS fishing transponders as you describe would be in many SE asian waters a great improvement to safe navigation!
Not just in SE Asia!

It would be nice if there was a protocol for fishing gear and a special symbol etc., but I would be VERY glad if fishing pots and especially those nets stretched between several floats and other gear in the water broadcast any kind of AIS signal whatsoever, even an illegal one.

I think on the contrary we should be grateful to the fishermen for making an effort. Now we just need for the regulation and technology to catch up.
__________________
"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-tre pour sauver mon ame. . . "
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 05:34   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 1,397
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

Legality and technical compliance issues aside (for the moment) I have to say I am very confused how the obvious marking of fishing gear offshore by an AIS beacon is any kind of hazard.

Fishing gear at night offshore is--for all practical purposes--invisible. Having them show up on my MFD would only be a benefit to me.

Now...back to the legalities... that would all be a lot better if the AIS targets showed properly identified as "fishing gear" and not some random kind of boat. But if we want to talk about mis-identified targets, I have far more often observed small boats who (illegally in the USA) reprogramed their AIS and made a total hash of it.

Like the idiot in the Chesapeake who presented on my display as a 654 foot pilot boat (yes, really) but was actually a 40 foot sailboat. When challenged on the radio, he acknowledged that he didn't know how to reprogram his seecond-hand Class A AIS, but in his (not-so-humble) opinion he thought it would be better to be seen as SOMETHING and confuse everybody around him than to stop broadcasting incorrect information. Definitely a case of, "if you don't think too good, don't think too much."

I kind of wanted to follow him down to Norfolk to see how the Navy and USCG security patrols responded to his incompetent arrogance.
billknny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 07:08   #5
CF Adviser
 
Pelagic's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2007
Boat: Van Helleman Schooner 65ft StarGazer
Posts: 8,419
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Not just in SE Asia!

It would be nice if there was a protocol for fishing gear and a special symbol etc., but I would be VERY glad if fishing pots and especially those nets stretched between several floats and other gear in the water broadcast any kind of AIS signal whatsoever, even an illegal one.

I think on the contrary we should be grateful to the fishermen for making an effort. Now we just need for the regulation and technology to catch up.
Exactly, once the identification protocols are set up to Link the nets with the fishing vessel, it will give the mariner a much clearer picture of the situation and intentions.

I am sure this is on the agenda for the next conference.
Pelagic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 08:27   #6
Registered User
 
jstevens's Avatar

Join Date: May 2006
Location: On board Sarah, currently lying in Jacksonville, FL
Boat: Pearson, 424, 42', Sarah
Posts: 657
Images: 4
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

I've spent that last hour trying to find a reference to what was essentially a group AIS broadcast where a vessel could broadcast position msgs for other vessels travelling as a group. I can't find it, maybe I just imagined it. Probably shd have put the cork back in the bottle rather than having one more glass of wine.
Any way I agree with Bilknny that it would be nice if such a capability were available in AIS to mark nets or other vessels (e.g., purse seiners) that cannot maneuver to avoid conflict. Certainly it should be done IAW IMO rules, and not the ad hoc use of msgs intended for other purposes.
A few years back I was in pea soup fog off Spain and nearly ran into a floating net. The fishing vessel was trying to contact me on VHF, but they were speaking in typical machine gun Spanish, and I didn't pick up their warning. If I had hit that net it would not have been a good day.

John
jstevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 08:40   #7
Registered User
 
captmikem's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Pacific NW.
Boat: KP 46
Posts: 486
Images: 2
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

I have to say this is kind of funny.

Especially "Flying up the gulf stream at night, we had numerous intermittent AIS targets that we could not see or correlate on radar, plus one obvious boat target on radar that did not even have an AIS transponder."

"One obvious boat"?
Imagine the audacity of someone being out on a boat without an AIS transponder...

I hear the skipper demanding "why is there a boat there? I show no AIS target on my screen!!!"

All these electronics making navigation so easy one does not have to spend much time learning Actual Navigation and Pilotage has bred The Computer Sailor.

Long time ago, when fwd looking sonar first came out, I had one on an Alden 54. Coming up the stream one night my wife woke me and said I had better come take a look at something, well I went to the fwd cabin and was ankle deep in water. Turns out we ran over a long liners line and it sheared off the transducer for the sonar. leaving a bit of a hole in the bottom of my boat.

I can see the value of having AIS transponders on fishing floats. Even if it means skippers of other boats have to actually look on their radars, or even outside to see if there is a boat out there. Yes, it would be nice if they were identified as fish floats, but I would rather have them identified as something rather than nothing at all.

As we say in airplanes, " Get your head out of the cockpit once in a while".

M
captmikem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 08:55   #8
Registered User
 
Cadence's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SC
Boat: None,build the one shown of glass, had many from 6' to 48'.
Posts: 7,773
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
this reminds me of sailing around the philipines where quite often the wooden and bamboo trimaran fishing "Bankas" capable of 25 knots, substitute an orange for red and blue for green navigation lights,they also use hundreds of tiny flashing fishing float lights on their nets making navigation through the fleet and nets hazardous especially since being wooden the vessels don't show up well on radar.

AIS fishing transponders as you describe would be in many SE asian waters a great improvement to safe navigation!
You phrased it better that I would have. I would rather know the fishing gear was out there than not.
Cadence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 09:28   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Oakland CA, boat on the hard in Panama
Boat: Morgan 46 ketch
Posts: 844
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

OP saw aircraft carrier AIS? That's good - around San Diego the carriers and several other large fast Navy ships do manouvres just outside the harbor sometimes at high speed, and never did they activate AIS transmitters at least when we were there.
waterman46 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 09:39   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Alert Bay, Vancouver Island
Boat: 35ft classic ketch/yawl.
Posts: 1,573
Images: 4
Send a message via Skype™ to roland stockham
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

If this is a US registered fishing vessel and you have evidence of a breach of Marathi law plus its MSSI No that would seam to be enough for the US coast guard to pay them a visit. Have they been given the Data?
roland stockham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 09:46   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 307
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

I encountered a fishing vessel at night during our Pacific crossing near the equator. He had 2 AIS transponders marking his driftnet locations as well as the length of the net coded as vessel length.
Was very grateful for it...changed course 10 degrees and left the net 10 miles off our beam.
AIS shows promise to mark all kinds of hazards...I hope cargo containers begin to carry water accentuated transponders as well.
Eder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 09:51   #12
Registered User
 
buzzstar's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: ashore in So Calif.
Boat: No more boat (my medical, not the boat's)
Posts: 1,450
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

I like the idea of AIS for floating components fishing equipment. If used with method of identifying type of object in lieu of a vessel name, plus a unique identifier, it would be almost as useful in some places as avoiding aircraft carriers in others.
__________________
"Old California"
buzzstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 10:05   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Genoa
Boat: Jeanneau 49DS
Posts: 235
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

I think that I lost the will to live trying to read the prolix original sanctimonious message.

What a relief to read the following ones briefly stating that fishing gear is a hazard and having it marked to be visible especially at night, is a great idea.

Anyone who has fouled their prop on a lobster pot or a fishing net will know what I mean.
Alita49DS is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 10:11   #14
Registered User
 
Cadence's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SC
Boat: None,build the one shown of glass, had many from 6' to 48'.
Posts: 7,773
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

[QUOTE=waterman46;2659705]OP saw aircraft carrier AIS? That's good - around San Diego the carriers and several other large fast Navy ships do manouvres just outside the harbor sometimes at high speed, and never did they activate AIS transmitters at least when we were there.

If he was able to spot a carrier he probably didn't see the FFGs with it.[
Cadence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-06-2018, 10:11   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 163
Re: Illegal AIS Fish Beacons: Another Hazard to Navigation

JPA Cate

I applaud you letting all know of the use of ais on fishing nets- but may I clear a couple technical misunderstandings that should be discussed more often.

The discussion of marking deep sea fishing buoys with ais has been going on for approx twelve+years. The issue is the fisherman have considerable money and efficiencies to collect the nets- so they attach various locating methods to them- the positive argument for such use is it improves retrieval, particularly as a net is a real polluting and killing machine when lost. The ais costs and simplicity make them ideal and preferable to previous methods.
The USCG suggested that as long as the transmission is FCC approved (conflict transmissions etc. ) - it is not prohibited. They did not say it was permitted either. I am not here to debate the finer points of regulation-

The real problem- the message system in the ais receivers is not programmed to display a "fishing message".
This is an example of technology advancing faster than the regulatory body.

I would strongly suggest supporting the regulation to update and provide a message line for fishing transmissions. It will go a long way in environmental positives.

Similar AIS discussion- but different subject in the recreational world of misunderstanding that needs real discussion,
The MOB PLB ais units- made by various global manufactures are fantastic units- but they must be tested with every vessel's individual plotter. Why- because the message 14 safety is not programmed in all plotters- particularly older than 2012. This is not clearly advertised and end retail user's expectations generally exceed capability. SO ALL PLEASE CHECK BY TESTING YOUR PLOTTER TO BE SURE IT WILL RECEIVE AND DISPLAY MOB AIS MESSAGES.

More to this point- FCC regulations involved- The Ocean Signal MOB1 AIS unit has a DSC function to simultaneously "all call" vhf radio's in the surrounding range-
Excellent duel purpose communication- except it is not legal nor programmable in North America. Yet West Marine , Landfall Navigation, MIlltech Marine, and others fail to identify that in advertising.

So as the AIS (Automatic Identification System) becomes the method of data communication delivery for coastal WEATHER, SAFETY NOTICES, SHIP TO SHIP COMMUNICATION, TRACKING, NAV AID IDENTIFICATION, - be aware it is not a replacement for radar, many vessels (COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL) do not carry AIS , and as use expands, it is only as good as the software programming updates on the receiving vessel plotter.

AIS is not a self-standing collision avoidance system, which the recreational market is advertising. It is simply an automated Identification system intended to be used in conjunction with the radar.

Safe cruising
__________________

boat driver is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
ais, fish, legal, navigation

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hazard to navigation-depth and position unknown basenay Seamanship & Boat Handling 2 23-03-2016 21:53
Navigation Hazard Alert: Eastern FL Cheechako Navigation 1 31-01-2010 16:33
Fish Aggregation Devices - Are They a Hazard to Navigation? svstrider Navigation 5 23-09-2009 07:54
Shipping containers (navigation hazard) exfishnz Navigation 31 01-01-2009 08:47
Hazard to navigation? ssullivan Navigation 74 30-06-2008 14:05



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:31.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.