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Focus area 1.3: Supporting safe navigation

See performance table: Performance measure 1.3.1

Case study: Continual improvement of AMSA's AIS network

Palfrey Islet - Completed AIS base station installation A photo of the completed AIS base station installation at Palfrey Islet.
The automatic identification system (AIS) is a maritime communication device that assists in the effective navigation of ships. AIS helps improve navigation safety and environmental protection by facilitating the transfer of data between AIS-equipped vessels and shore-based stations.

AMSA operates a national AIS network for the purpose of tracking vessels to assist in their safe navigation. The network also provides data to the Under Keel Clearance Management (UKCM) system in the Torres Strait and the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service (REEFVTS). Both enhance the safety of shipping in these environmentally sensitive marine areas.

The network is continually reviewed to ensure coverage remains effective and complements AMSA’s traditional aids to navigation network.

A recent review recommended the relocation of an AIS base station from Cape Flattery to Palfrey Islet in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, 270 kilometres north of Cairns. Palfrey Islet was selected because of the site’s location, elevation and the presence of existing AMSA infrastructure.

Following a procurement process, a contract was awarded for the decommissioning of the existing AIS base station at Cape Flattery and establishing an AIS base station at Palfrey Islet. The relocation works were completed in June 2020.

Through technologies like AIS, AMSA is able to provide a comprehensive marine aids to navigation network that improves the safe navigation of vessels, whilst protecting environmentally sensitive marine areas.