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ghost37

Tankers turning off AIS to move sanctioned oil

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Bloomberg article: 

The Dragon, a massive oil tanker flying the Liberian flag, is supposed to be floating somewhere off the coast of France, according to its last GPS signal.

Instead, it’s currently thousands of miles away in Venezuela where, under contract for the Russian state-oil giant Rosneft Oil Co PJSC, it loaded 2 million barrels of oil, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and shipping reports. How’s that possible? Because the ship’s transponders were turned off before it slipped into Venezuelan waters, the data shows.

Oil tankers are now getting into a regular habit of turning off their AIS transmissions in order to move oil out of sanctioned countries like Venezuela and Iran. Tracking shows that ships then turn up in places like Cuba, China and India. Political considerations aside, this struck as disconcerting news for mariners. It also appears to be a violation of SOLAS Annex 17 on AIS requirements. Luckily not transmitting AIS has worked out fine for the US Navy so it's all good. 

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16 minutes ago, ghost37 said:

Bloomberg article: 

The Dragon, a massive oil tanker flying the Liberian flag, is supposed to be floating somewhere off the coast of France, according to its last GPS signal.

Instead, it’s currently thousands of miles away in Venezuela where, under contract for the Russian state-oil giant Rosneft Oil Co PJSC, it loaded 2 million barrels of oil, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and shipping reports. How’s that possible? Because the ship’s transponders were turned off before it slipped into Venezuelan waters, the data shows.

Oil tankers are now getting into a regular habit of turning off their AIS transmissions in order to move oil out of sanctioned countries like Venezuela and Iran. Tracking shows that ships then turn up in places like Cuba, China and India. Political considerations aside, this struck as disconcerting news for mariners. It also appears to be a violation of SOLAS Annex 17 on AIS requirements. Luckily not transmitting AIS has worked out fine for the US Navy so it's all good. 

What is a ship's GPS signal?

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Recently came across a newly built Japanese ship that launched then crossed the Tsushima Straits to bunker.

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AIS is Automated Identification Signal, which is sento out to the world, based on GPS position of the ship's antenna. 

It's supposed to be fitted and used, in the interest of maritime safety ( it gives ship's name and size as well as course and speed, which can be read by another ship's (boat's) electronic chart.  It also allows others to track you, can be done from our iphones with a program like marinetraffic.com.

Being able to call a ship by name in a developing close-quarters situation is a Godsend, it used to be "ship off my port bow, come in", followed by answers from all the "wrong" ships...

 

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Paging MR .....  :P

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It would be amusing if they broadcast as a J/24. Might get a few puzzled glances as they cross oceans at ~14 kts, but hey storms happen!

Everyone loves to talk about turbo rigs, but have you considered the performance benefits of extending the waterline of your 4ksb to 1,201’?

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This isn't "worse" than all the illegal AIS units that allow folks to send out fake

positions. We crossed paths with many of them on fishing boats in the Pacific

this year. Eyes and radar still work.

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There are plenty of "dark" vessels plying these waters, from go-fast dope smugglers to fishing poachers, people smugglers, budget cruisers, interisland and tramp freighters, local fishing boats, etc., etc. AIS is a nice system, but relying on it alone (or any  single aid to navigation for that matter) to save your bacon would be foolhardy IMHO. 

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1 hour ago, sugarbird said:

There are plenty of "dark" vessels plying these waters, from go-fast dope smugglers to fishing poachers, people smugglers, budget cruisers, interisland and tramp freighters, local fishing boats, etc., etc. AIS is a nice system, but relying on it alone (or any  single aid to navigation for that matter) to save your bacon would be foolhardy IMHO. 

Totally agree - I'm certainly not proposing anyone rely entirely on AIS. The article struck me as a bit surprising considering that I hold pro merchant mariners to a higher standard than "dope smugglers", "people smugglers", and illegal fishing ops. 

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48 minutes ago, ghost37 said:

Totally agree - I'm certainly not proposing anyone rely entirely on AIS. The article struck me as a bit surprising considering that I hold pro merchant mariners to a higher standard than "dope smugglers", "people smugglers", and illegal fishing ops. 

Why? They do all of those activities!

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14 hours ago, oysterhead said:

This isn't "worse" than all the illegal AIS units that allow folks to send out fake

positions. We crossed paths with many of them on fishing boats in the Pacific

this year. Eyes and radar still work.

What fake positions do they send? One mile over? A fixed spot? Random?

 

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3 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

What fake positions do they send? One mile over? A fixed spot? Random?

 

Anything they want. We crossed through two large groups of fishing boats in mid-pacific

(one between Galapagos and FP, one between FP and Hawaii) with fully spoofed AIS

positions. We can overlay AIS on radar so it is "easy" to compare... and we had visual

contact with multiple ships at a time.

The ships could all move synchronously with the whole fleet shifting heading and

location simultaneously, or just a few at a time or they could just appear where they obviously

weren't or disappear from where they obviously were. We observed at least five "ghost

ships" that existed on AIS only - moving around electronically in locations we sailed

directly past but nothing was there, with other ships nearby broadcasting correct positions.

It was a mind-boggling exercise to navigate through, but illegal unreported fishing is a big deal.

There are serious reason for the FCC  giving USCG authority to enforce the rules

against these spoofable AIS units that are available online, cheap.

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I was highly annoyed when the airplane version of ADS-B (AIS) was configured to take external NMEA input like the cheap Chinese ADS-B units. It makes it so easy to fake positions.

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36 minutes ago, oysterhead said:

It was a mind-boggling exercise to navigate through, but illegal unreported fishing is a big deal.

 

 

So is this done for poaching, or to mislead the competing fishermen?  

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2 hours ago, pogen said:

 

So is this done for poaching, or to mislead the competing fishermen?  

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing == poaching on a global scale. 100's of 100-300 foot long

vessels at sea for years, crews stay onboard, fuel delivered by tankers, fish offloaded by cargo vessels. We

passed many with unbelievable stench and rust and... well, floating prisons.  AIS can be picked up by

satellites (look at marinetraffic.com) so it isn't a good idea to really say where you are if you don't want anyone

to know. However, it's a really good idea to let your "fleet" know where you are when you are trying to position

all your gear to remove everything that swims from large sectors of water.

This leads to low power, spoofable, "AIS" units with fake MMSI numbers and fake vessel ID info... and ships

deployed on perfect grids that move around to vacuum up the remaining life in the ocean.

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there is a new network of Synthetic Aperature Radar satellites that are being launched to replace aging ones in both quantity and quality. Part of the goal is to be able to identify shadow vessels that are otherwise difficult to detect. The papers I've read say that the SAR isn't accurate enough to provide a vessel's identity, but it can be overlaid with AIS information to determine if the vessel is accounted for. Capella Space is launching a 36 satellite constellation and partnering with Inmarsat to provide real-time satellite tasking and imaging when IUU or other malfeasance is suspected. I think the constellation is supposed to be in place fully by 2021.

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20 hours ago, ghost37 said:

Totally agree - I'm certainly not proposing anyone rely entirely on AIS. The article struck me as a bit surprising considering that I hold pro merchant mariners to a higher standard than "dope smugglers", "people smugglers", and illegal fishing ops.  

Ummm... I worked in the container trade for a few companies for a lotta years, and have known many merchant mariners. There are good, bad, and some pretty f*cking ugly characters running vessels out there that range from near yacht quality construction and condition to raggedy old rust buckets patched with cement that are just barely staying afloat, and continually breaking down. Against class rules you say? Breaking IMO regs? Violating local laws? Shocking, I say, simple shocking! A couple of years ago the Russian Captain of a vessel I knew was apparently drunk most of the time, and his Filipino crew came very close to walking off the vessel, due to the Captain's continual harassment and crazy behavior (perhaps in part because the vessel was 40+ years old, slow, and routinely hampered by one or more malfunctioning systems). The crew lodged their complaints with me in port, and we had middle of the night emergency meetings and phone calls with vessel owners and the marine management company that provided the crew, and we were finally able to convince the Captain to apologize, the crew to stay aboard, and we got the damn ship off the quay several hours late, just as the Port Authority was starting to grumble. Once you get away from the US and Europe it's a whole different ballgame amigo.

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On 11/16/2019 at 8:33 AM, ryley said:

there is a new network of Synthetic Aperature Radar satellites that are being launched to replace aging ones in both quantity and quality. Part of the goal is to be able to identify shadow vessels that are otherwise difficult to detect. The papers I've read say that the SAR isn't accurate enough to provide a vessel's identity, but it can be overlaid with AIS information to determine if the vessel is accounted for. Capella Space is launching a 36 satellite constellation and partnering with Inmarsat to provide real-time satellite tasking and imaging when IUU or other malfeasance is suspected. I think the constellation is supposed to be in place fully by 2021.

Good. For the first upgrade may I suggest radar guided flying crowbars to de-orbit and target the illegal fishing vessels?

FKT

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2 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Good. For the first upgrade may I suggest radar guided flying crowbars to de-orbit and target the illegal fishing vessels?

FKT

You may, of course, but I'm pretty sure you'd need separate targeting and launch sats if your goal is to hit anywhere near the boats with the bars. Much cheaper and easier and likely just as effective to build a big trebuchet in Tuvalu and use it to launch baskets full of stern memos in their general direction.

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26 minutes ago, weightless said:

You may, of course, but I'm pretty sure you'd need separate targeting and launch sats if your goal is to hit anywhere near the boats with the bars. Much cheaper and easier and likely just as effective to build a big trebuchet in Tuvalu and use it to launch baskets full of stern memos in their general direction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardment

FKT

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In case anyone wants to see an AIS display mid-pacific while traversing a fleet of

200 foot fishing vessels using fully spoofed AIS...

The "vessel" we are passing isn't actually there. The six "heading north" at this point

were displaying as heading due south 15 seconds ago and all "changed course" simultaneously

every few minutes while in range. Another vessel not visible here at this moment

is in the empty space 4 miles to our NE traveling W on our radar - it's AIS came

on  a few minutes later reporting a heading to the SE while it was still heading W,

directly in front of us. Lots of fun.

AIS.Spoof.jpg

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how many xin shi ji 78's ARE there in china??

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13 minutes ago, ryley said:

how many xin shi ji 78's ARE there in china??

must be like the name Sea breeze or Reel Time.  At least 3 in every port...

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On 11/15/2019 at 2:30 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

Why is this in PA? Seems relevant to SA or CA.

 

On 11/15/2019 at 2:32 AM, ghost37 said:

Agreed. Originally started in SA and then moved here for some reason. 

Actually belongs in Ocean Racing...afterall that is where they got the fucking idea of going AIS dark.

 

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2 hours ago, LionessRacing said:

My wiki-fu fails me. Your link is for a different exceptionally difficult problem than the one we were riffing on before.

Sans link, I'll monologue on problem the first. This will give you heroes time to make good an escape.

One problem, of many,  with problem the first, that of putting crowbars on LEO satellites for dropping on pelagic poachers, is that by the time you see the fishing boat it will be too late to drop your bar onto it from the sat you saw it from. You'd need spotters and droppers or, perhaps, multiple orbits that go over the same spot and a belief that your target will hang out while you get back to it. Of course, you can't really drop a crowbar from orbit at all. You can open the bomb bay doors and release the bar of war, if you like. However, the bar of war will just hang there. It may look at you like a puppy that has eaten your shoe and is concerned that there will never be another milk-bone, but it will not fall to Earth. You may discuss phenomenology with it if you like, but ultimately  you need to de-orbit the puppy to get it to plummet happily homeward. That takes energy and time. You don't have much of the latter if you're zipping along at miles a second. And if you're in a hurry so as not to miss your boat, you'll need a great deal of the former as well. I still think a memo flinging trebuchet is a better answer. It's cheap and fun and someone will get the memo.

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1 hour ago, weightless said:

My wiki-fu fails me. Your link is for a different exceptionally difficult problem than the one we were riffing on before.

Sans link, I'll monologue on problem the first. This will give you heroes time to make good an escape.

One problem, of many,  with problem the first, that of putting crowbars on LEO satellites for dropping on pelagic poachers, is that by the time you see the fishing boat it will be too late to drop your bar onto it from the sat you saw it from. You'd need spotters and droppers or, perhaps, multiple orbits that go over the same spot and a belief that your target will hang out while you get back to it. Of course, you can't really drop a crowbar from orbit at all. You can open the bomb bay doors and release the bar of war, if you like. However, the bar of war will just hang there. It may look at you like a puppy that has eaten your shoe and is concerned that there will never be another milk-bone, but it will not fall to Earth. You may discuss phenomenology with it if you like, but ultimately  you need to de-orbit the puppy to get it to plummet happily homeward. That takes energy and time. You don't have much of the latter if you're zipping along at miles a second. And if you're in a hurry so as not to miss your boat, you'll need a great deal of the former as well. I still think a memo flinging trebuchet is a better answer. It's cheap and fun and someone will get the memo.

Wiki is not complete, there was an anti-tank variant that I briefly consulted on for Draper in 91. Same concept of orbiting spears, with ability to terminally guide to a tank at the end of the rentry strike... Think it was ~20 min from push of button to impact so they had to enable quite a bit of motion, but give the Fulda Gap was well surveyed that was not that hard to do. 

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1 hour ago, LionessRacing said:

Wiki is not complete, there was an anti-tank variant that I briefly consulted on for Draper in 91. Same concept of orbiting spears, with ability to terminally guide to a tank at the end of the rentry strike... Think it was ~20 min from push of button to impact so they had to enable quite a bit of motion, but give the Fulda Gap was well surveyed that was not that hard to do. 

The wiki is not a reliable source. Very cool to lean more from an expert. That system sounds like it was intended to be a good deal fancier than the typically mooted spears from space thing. Ambitious and expensive.

 

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15 hours ago, oysterhead said:

In case anyone wants to see an AIS display mid-pacific while traversing a fleet of

200 foot fishing vessels using fully spoofed AIS...

The "vessel" we are passing isn't actually there. The six "heading north" at this point

were displaying as heading due south 15 seconds ago and all "changed course" simultaneously

every few minutes while in range. Another vessel not visible here at this moment

is in the empty space 4 miles to our NE traveling W on our radar - it's AIS came

on  a few minutes later reporting a heading to the SE while it was still heading W,

directly in front of us. Lots of fun.

AIS.Spoof.jpg

where were you when you took this screenshot (lat/lon)?

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8 hours ago, weightless said:

The wiki is not a reliable source. Very cool to lean more from an expert. That system sounds like it was intended to be a good deal fancier than the typically mooted spears from space thing. Ambitious and expensive.

 

Hardly a "system" expert, was working on low current devices for the sensor to allow it to be dormant in orbit...  Expensive was a given, but if it's an existential threat then there is no opportunity cost. The collapse or Soviet Union rendered it unnecessary. Classic example of raising the table stakes till the other guy blinks. After First Gulf War, the Soviet Military machine was not looking that competitive and with the Reagan Recovery into the 90's there wasn't much "Butter" to show where the "Guns" were no longer useful. 

The question of the shelling of the "white House" notwithstanding, so far that has worked out. 

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10 minutes ago, LionessRacing said:

Expensive was a given, but if it's an existential threat then there is no opportunity cost.

I was thinking "expensive" and "ambitious" in relation to functionally equivalent systems. In my naivety it seems that that the system would have been very expensive and much more difficult to keep operational than medium range ballistic missiles with similar capabilities. So, my WAG is that there would have been an opportunity cost but it's unknown unkowns all the way down for me. Finding out that I'm completely missing the point, again, would not be a huge surprise.

image.png.8ac71d64f5f6842b8e48943003e4eeb7.png

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The premise was that you would have a pre-installed deterrent, that would be less susceptible to being sabotaged etc. The whole SDI program was for the most part a raising of the Ante, where Reagan threw some development bucks at "Star Wars" programs, and the Soviets simply could not keep up. Similar thing going on now in Europe, where the NATO bill is coming due, and Macron & Junkers want their own forces etc. Only so many Euro's and bodies to go into the mix. Each country wants to control and fund it's internal (ordnance) industries, none of them have all the pieces

 

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6 hours ago, pnwer said:

where were you when you took this screenshot (lat/lon)?

Somewhere around 3 deg S, 139 deg W, heading north from Nuku Hiva to Hilo

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looks like tankers are not the only ones turning off nav aids.  Russians acting like tools power boaters off east coast.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/coast-guard-issues-alert-over-russian-spy-ships-unsafe-erratic-movements-near-us

 

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Spoofing AIS is unfortunately simple...  The Design of AIS was thought of a way of alleviating collisions, without any thought to BAD ACTORS... So.. There is no encryption, no signing with public / private keys...  So one can do many horrible (or wonderful) things..  I though that having my AIS on in pirate waters would not be a stupid thing... if I had a spoofer broadcasting a vessel paralleling my course 50 meters to starboard... with the details of USS Albany (SSN-753) (A US Los Angles Class Attack Submarine) .

As to these tankers.. they are silly.. .They should also spoof their location.. far away from 'bad' ports... go in dark (with spoofer broadcasting form Dingy) and come out and .. go live again.. and few would be wiser. (like the illegal fishing vessels)  What is more suspicious then someone who goes to a bad place with a tracker?  Someone who VANISHES... and then reappears... by a bad place...   

Also.. if someone wants to be an ass.. then they can easily broadcast on the AIS channels and jam all AIS signals...

A bigger concern for me is the ability (or misconfiguration of an ECDIS system) to block B signals.  I saw commercial tugboats from Ensenada, MX with NOT one class B signal visible on the bridge.

I was talking to the captain, and he was not aware of all the sailboats that class B broadcast.... as he did not see ANY.  I visited the bridge.. and 'nada'. not a one class B signal.

 

odd... and makes one question the validity.......  I would want everyone to see my class B, or even my MOB AIS signal..... 

 

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Maybe this has been covered but if you are heading down the east coast of the US this time of year in a boat over 65' and doing over 10 knots you will be fined heavily by NOAA. Right Whale habitat and migration areas

You need to be 20 miles offshore or more so turn off the AIS

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15 hours ago, h20man said:

Spoofing AIS is unfortunately simple...  The Design of AIS was thought of a way of alleviating collisions, without any thought to BAD ACTORS... So.. There is no encryption, no signing with public / private keys...  So one can do many horrible (or wonderful) things..  I though that having my AIS on in pirate waters would not be a stupid thing... if I had a spoofer broadcasting a vessel paralleling my course 50 meters to starboard... with the details of USS Albany (SSN-753) (A US Los Angles Class Attack Submarine) .

As to these tankers.. they are silly.. .They should also spoof their location.. far away from 'bad' ports... go in dark (with spoofer broadcasting form Dingy) and come out and .. go live again.. and few would be wiser. (like the illegal fishing vessels)  What is more suspicious then someone who goes to a bad place with a tracker?  Someone who VANISHES... and then reappears... by a bad place...   

Also.. if someone wants to be an ass.. then they can easily broadcast on the AIS channels and jam all AIS signals...

A bigger concern for me is the ability (or misconfiguration of an ECDIS system) to block B signals.  I saw commercial tugboats from Ensenada, MX with NOT one class B signal visible on the bridge.

I was talking to the captain, and he was not aware of all the sailboats that class B broadcast.... as he did not see ANY.  I visited the bridge.. and 'nada'. not a one class B signal.

 

odd... and makes one question the validity.......  I would want everyone to see my class B, or even my MOB AIS signal..... 

 

AIS wasnt introduced for collision avoidance, it is what it is as the name suggests.

from the MCA

3.) USE OF AIS IN NAVIGATION

AIS provides identification of targets together with the static and dynamic information listed in the IMO Guidelines para.12. Mariners should, however, use this information with caution noting the following important points:

a.) Collision avoidance must be carried out in strict compliance with the COLREGs. There is no provision in the COLREGs for use of AIS information therefore decisions should be taken based primarily on visual and/or radar information.

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23 hours ago, h20man said:

A bigger concern for me is the ability (or misconfiguration of an ECDIS system) to block B signals.  I saw commercial tugboats from Ensenada, MX with NOT one class B signal visible on the bridge.

I was talking to the captain, and he was not aware of all the sailboats that class B broadcast.... as he did not see ANY.  I visited the bridge.. and 'nada'. not a one class B signal.

 

odd... and makes one question the validity.......  I would want everyone to see my class B, or even my MOB AIS signal..... 

 

This has been an "urban myth" for years now. Everyone keeps saying "Nope, no way, can't happen" and then you find out it CAN be done. I can do it on my plotter if I want to. Makes you want to buy Class A.

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7 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

This has been an "urban myth" for years now. Everyone keeps saying "Nope, no way, can't happen" and then you find out it CAN be done. I can do it on my plotter if I want to. Makes you want to buy Class A.

Are you saying that this is a myth?... or really is possible...   I saw this on a tug...  I thought that this may be a configuration issue, but the captain was claiming that he was not aware that any filtering was going on...  

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8 hours ago, Sailabout said:

AIS wasnt introduced for collision avoidance, it is what it is as the name suggests.

from the MCA

3.) USE OF AIS IN NAVIGATION

AIS provides identification of targets together with the static and dynamic information listed in the IMO Guidelines para.12. Mariners should, however, use this information with caution noting the following important points:

a.) Collision avoidance must be carried out in strict compliance with the COLREGs. There is no provision in the COLREGs for use of AIS information therefore decisions should be taken based primarily on visual and/or radar information.

Sorry for the wrong use of words.....  You are absolutely correct...  Obvious brain fart there on my part.  For myself AIS is a GREAT way of adding to information that often I would not see visually, and helps greatly in hailing a vessel to understand intentions, or work out passing arrangements. 

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1 hour ago, h20man said:

Are you saying that this is a myth?... or really is possible...   I saw this on a tug...  I thought that this may be a configuration issue, but the captain was claiming that he was not aware that any filtering was going on...  

It is really possible on some plotters despite a lot of protests to the contrary.

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On 12/21/2019 at 4:58 PM, kent_island_sailor said:

It is really possible on some plotters despite a lot of protests to the contrary.

It does make one want to buy a class A.  and wonder about the effectiveness of the MOB beacon attached to a life jacket that broadcast AIS....   

What frightened me... was that the captain and bridge crew (that had actually towed in a Carnival Cruise Liner after a fire off Ensenada) were claiming that they

  • Were not aware of any filtering
  • Could not change the configuration to see Class B

 

Boggles the mind.

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On 12/22/2019 at 12:58 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

It is really possible on some plotters despite a lot of protests to the contrary.

Some older Furuno radars have a menu to remove class B, the menu list has been posted on blogs before

If you cant see it on radar it wont make much of a scratch is the rule of thumb..lol

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On 12/23/2019 at 1:43 AM, h20man said:

It does make one want to buy a class A.  and wonder about the effectiveness of the MOB beacon attached to a life jacket that broadcast AIS....   

What frightened me... was that the captain and bridge crew (that had actually towed in a Carnival Cruise Liner after a fire off Ensenada) were claiming that they

  • Were not aware of any filtering
  • Could not change the configuration to see Class B

 

Boggles the mind.

the ais MOB is a later message string so all get it BUT for sure older plotters etc will not recognise it.
Perhaps with software upgrades they might?

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First there were ‘conflict diamonds,’ now conflict oil.   Just a lot harder to smuggle ‘invisibly’ (oil that is.)

- Stumbling 

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3 minutes ago, stumblingthunder said:

First there were ‘conflict diamonds,’ now conflict oil.   Just a lot harder to smuggle ‘invisibly’ (oil that is.)

- Stumbling 

To right, a couple of gallons shoved up the butthole wouldn't make you much and be slightly uncomfortable.

Especially if you forgot the container at loading time...

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9 minutes ago, Gissie said:

To right, a couple of gallons shoved up the butthole wouldn't make you much and be slightly uncomfortable.

Especially if you forgot the container at loading time...

Loose bowels sinks careers!

- Stumbling 

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14 hours ago, stumblingthunder said:

Loose bowels sinks careers!

- Stumbling 

Loose bowels stink ships.....

FKT

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