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tion; and prioritize charting and surveying based on measured sels engaged in international commerce, it has become the go- traf? c volumes. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to location for marine casualty investigators and, in the event (BOEM) uses AIS data to support its marine planning needs of litigation, for legal counsel. Almost every marine casualty associated with offshore energy development. report published by ? ag state or port state includes AIS data

The Maritime Safety and Security Information System (MS- and an analysis of the movements of all vessels involved in

SIS) is a government-to-government data sharing network op- the casualty based on that data. Interviews of crew members erated by the Department of Transportation. It combines AIS are still important, but actual ship movements as recorded in data from 74 participating nations into a single raw-AIS data the AIS data tends to be the dominating factor in the analysis stream that collects over 150 million vessel position reports – and always prevails in the event of con? icts between differ- per day from approximately 60,000 vessels. The combined ent sources of information. The AIS data does not reveal why data is available in several different formats to participating particular actions were taken, but it is almost always given full governments and federal agencies. weight in determining what actions were.

NOAA and BOEM jointly manage, a AIS has expanded far beyond its original purpose and it is

Geographic Information System (GIS)-based marine data hard to imagine maritime operations in today’s complex en- viewer and repository that provides decision support tools for vironment without it. It is not, though, a panacea. The Au- siting of offshore energy development, aquaculture, and other tomatic Identi? cation System is clearly an important tool, but activities. must continue to be used with caution, recognizing its inherent

Because AIS data is stored on the Electronic Chart Display limits, as well as future possibilities, including the increased and Information System (ECIS) devices carried on most ves- prevalence of automated ships.

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