The NCA is responsible for the national AIS network and shares AIS traffic data with other authorities and ports. The AIS network provides a continuous overview of the shipping traffic situation along the coast and in sea areas.
AIS stands for Automatic Identification System and was first established as an anti-collision tool for shipping. Vessels with AIS transponders on board transmit dynamic information about their own identity, speed and course to nearby ships via VHF, and enable them to receive the same type of information from vessels nearby. The AIS information is supplementary to the radar-based information that vessels receive.
AIS was introduced by the United Nations International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to improve safety for ships and the environment, and to strengthen maritime traffic services and monitoring. In Norway, AIS is part of the government’s effort to improve maritime safety and preparedness in Norwegian waters. Monitoring shipping traffic helps to identify anomalies, and enables the authorities to initiate necessary measures more quickly in order to reduce the risk of accidents at sea.
As AIS provides a continuously updated and complete traffic overview for the authorities, it has become an important tool for the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) and search and rescue services. AIS is particularly important in situations where time is of the essence. The ability to see the identity, speed and course of vessels in real time enables emergency and rescue services to implement preventive measures when unwanted incidents occur.
AIS data is stored in the NCA’s AIS database for several years. Historical AIS data is searchable and universally accessible at kystdatahuset.no.