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Licensing non-shipborne automatic identification systems

Our policy and procedures for the operation and licensing of non-shipborne automatic identification systems (AIS).

Those planning to operate AIS stations ashore in Australia and implementing AIS aids to navigation, fixed or floating should read ths policy.

Our policy for licensing third parties

We are the current holder of an Australia wide Maritime Coast Licence for the AIS frequencies 161.975 MHz (AIS1) and 162.025 MHz (AIS2) in the VHF maritime mobile band. In effect, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has licensed us to operate a limited coast assigned system subject to the conditions laid down in the relevant Maritime Coast Licence Determinations.

We may, at our sole discretion, permit third parties to operate non-shipborne AIS in Australia. IMO Resolution MSC140(76) notes that administrations should take steps necessary to ensure the integrity of the radio channels used for AIS in their waters. IMO Resolution MSC74(69) Annex 3 states that AIS should serve as a means for littoral states to obtain information about ships and be used as a vessel traffic service (VTS) tool. Therefore, it is envisaged that applications for non-shipborne AIS would be limited to state or port authorities.

As the licence holder, we are bound by the conditions imposed upon us by the Radiocommunications Act 1992. Our policy is that third parties must also comply with the relevant sections of this Act. In particular, no interference shall be caused to any radiocommunication station or service and no protection from interference by such stations or services shall be afforded. It is our policy to:

  1. Evaluate each application, to ensure that the purpose of installation aligns with current, internationally accepted aims and objectives for AIS ashore, including IMO, ITU, IALA and IEC guidance.
  2. Liaise with and apply to ACMA on behalf of any third party.
  3. Require all non-shipborne AIS transceivers to be licensed.
  4. Seek cooperation of licensees when carrying out FATDMA planning (the reservation of time slots for use by base stations in proximity of one another).
  5. Waive the requirement to licence AIS 'receive-only' units, as long they do not cause any radio interference with other stations but request that we be notified of all AIS receive only installations.
  6. Access AIS data (real time and historic) received by licensed third parties, on a needs basis. The data is to be provided free of cost to us. We will arrange and pay for any network and associated communication costs.
  7. Require third parties to transmit safety, environment protection or SAR related information, from time to time, on our behalf. This facility is to be provided without any charge to us. We will arrange and pay for any network and associated communication costs.
  8. Pass on all fees and charges that ACMA may levy for registering third parties
  9. Charge a fee for service for administrative costs associated with third party licensing.

Procedure for third party authorisation

Interested third parties are required to apply through us for third party authorisations.

Broadly, authorisation may be obtained provided the following conditions are met:

  1. The purpose of installation aligns with our AIS policy.
  2. The AIS unit complies with the relevant international performance standards.
  3. Transmitting equipment is installed so that it does not cause transmission or reception interference.
  4. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure standards are met, as set out in the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Apparatus Licence) Determination 2015 which may be viewed on the Federal Register of Legislation website.
  5. ACMA licence conditions (including qualifications for operators) for the VHF marine band, as set out in the Radiocommu... Licence Conditions (Maritime Coast Licence) Determination 2002, must be complied with.
  6. The applicable ACMA fee must be paid.
  7. The applicable AMSA fee must be paid.

Applicants wishing to proceed with third party authorisation need to follow the process detailed below:

  1. Complete the following forms:
    1. For an AIS  base station: AMSA 234a Australian non-shipborne AIS application.
    2. For an AIS AtoN: AMSA 234b Australian AIS AtoN application.
  2. Provide evidence of the AIS station compliance with ITU-R Recommendation M.1371 Series.
  3. Agree that the AIS transmitter installation meets ACMA Level 1 compliance. (ie transmitter output power less than 100 watts and transmitting antenna inaccessible to the public.)*
  4. Attach a copy of the applicant’s radio operator qualification.
  5. Forward the completed forms, paperwork and fees to us, and we will apply to ACMA on behalf of third parties.
  6. If successful, the applicant will be required to sign and return the Acknowledgement of Conditions document provided by us.
  7. We will issue a Third Party Authorisation to the applicant.
  8. Forward a photograph/s following installation to us showing the antenna and the means to prevent access to the general public. If no photograph is available, a description of how the access of the public is prevented is satisfactory. The following are examples of a type of place that is inaccessible to a member of the general public:
    • the area around an antenna that is fenced and where entry is through a locked gate
    • the area around a tower where the tower cannot be climbed except by the use of an external aid.
  9. Forward a report to us providing evidence of suitability of installation confirming absence of interference after one month of operation.

* Applicants are advised that it is in the interest of site owners to comply with the ARPANSA Radiation Protection Standard—Maximum exposure levels to radiofrequency fields—3 kHz to 300 GHz. The standard advises of the need to prepare a cumulative radiation hazard plan if other transmitting devices are also installed at or near the site. Further information relating to the standard can be found at ARPANSA. For more information on this topic, visit ACMA's website.

Ongoing requirements

We may carry out periodic audits. This may entail us requesting documentation to be satisfied that the third party continues to comply with prevailing standards and conditions. Additionally, the audit may involve a visit by AMSA staff to the site.

Last updated: 10 November 2023