Turning off AIS a COLREG violation?

Is shutting off AIS not a violation of “using every means available for safe navigation” or words to that effect? What is the IMO’s position?

Our government and government contract ships do it all the time.


The military gets a free pass but these are civilian ships.

COSCO is state-owned.
These ships do not look ‘military’… but then, are they really civilian?


Maybe not civilian in fact as nothing Chinese really is but in terms of the IMO they should be considered as civilian. I suppose it’s just another example of China considering itself above international law.

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you might get a fine when entering a foreign port and then detained till its fixed??

They are in good company then. US is not exactly known to be a sickler for complying either, nor be signatory to many international laws and treaties.
When the Gov sign the Senate and Congress refuse to ratify.

COSCO is the world’s largest Shipping Company, with ships under different flags and trading all over the world, incl. the US.
I have been acting as Superintendent for COSCO Heavylift when loading and discharging in many different places in the world. (Even in Norway, my only job there for over 20 years)

One such loadout was actually an American owned Jackup rig loaded in Singapore for transport to Alaska. (“Endeavour - Spirit of Independence”, owned by a native Alaskan foundation)

Did the fact that COSCO is a Chinese Gov. owned company make any difference from any other job? No.
Did the crew in any manner appeared to be oppressed? Not any more than crew on any other ships, boats or rigs I have been involved with.
There MUST be something different!! Yes, each COSCO HLV had a Commissary on board, but he worked with the rest of the crew when preparing the deck for loading etc. He also took part in the partying to celebrate a job well done. Nobody appeared to be scared of him

I’m afraid the perception fostered by US media and the Gov. propaganda machine is intended to scare Americans and others from learning the reality of life in China and the power of control of the Communist Party on everyday life.
Today more Chinese tourists is found all over the world than those from Europe and North America. (The same goes for seafarer BTW)

There are also more and more westerners, incl. Americans, living and working in China than ever before. In places like Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin there are bars and restaurants owned and operated by Americans (There may be other places as well, but these are the places I have visited such establishment)

My advise is and has been; if you want to know about China, go there. Not for a short organized tour with a lot of like minded people moving in a bubble.
Travel independently, not necessarily alone but with an open mind, not with tinted glasses, and stay for a while. Eat local street food and talk to people. You’ll be surprised how open and friendly they are, as long as you don’t come with a biased and “I’m superior” attitude.


From what I’ve seen the ship might get a call from port control or a harbor master about problems with AIS but I wouldn’t expect much away from ports. Maybe another ship calling just to inform.

Enforcement of COLREGS absent an incident is rare AFAIK. Maybe for TSS/VTS violations.

Nice job demonstrating your trolling skills. No matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find any reference to the subject of this thread: AIS and COLREGS. Plenty of off topic drivel about the size of COSCO and how wonderful they are, your previous life as a superintendent, oppressed crews, eating street food, not wearing tinted glasses, blah blah blah…
You spend a lot of time diverting most threads on this forum to promote the Chinese agenda. Since you seem to be in rut, may I suggest a second career, something that may help you regain some equilibrium in your life and help you promote your blind love affair with all things Chinese?
How about something in retail. Maybe open a ladies’ lingerie shop specializing in bras for the exceptionally well endowed Nordic woman. You could import cheap knock offs of European designs by ripping off their patents and using child labor from the motherland to keep prices attractive. Using loudspeakers in your retail outlet, you could broadcast quaint songs and poems praising the quality of life under brutal dictatorships.
An appropriate name in more ways than one would be BOOBS R US.


Whoa, whoa, whoa! Quit giving away my retirement plans!


No doubt it would take a collision to bring a violation to light and a court ruling to make it actionable but a violation is a violation.

Yeah, I don’t know. My thinking is that it’s like Schrödinger’s cat. The ship is simultaneously in compliance and not in compliance before an incident. Only after an incident and the court’s decision is made can it be determined which is the case.

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Not talking non operational but voluntarily turned off.

IMO refers to AIS being “operational” which probably includes being turned on.

Properly installed, operational means an Automatic Identification System (AIS) that is installed and operated using the guidelines set forth by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Resolution A.917(22) and Safety of Navigation Circulars (SN/Circ.) 227, 244, 245, and SN.1/Circ.289; or National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) Installation Standard 0400-3.10 in lieu of SN/Circ.227 and 245 (incorporated by reference, see § 164.03

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IMO Resolution A.917(22), Guidelines for the onboard operational use of shipborne automatic identification systems (AIS), states that “if the master believes that the continual operation of AIS might compromise the safety or security of his/her ship, the AIS may be switched off. This might be the case in sea areas where pirates and armed robbers are known to operate. Actions of this nature should always be recorded in the ship’s logbook together with the reason for doing so.”

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same with ECDIS now, if the captain thinks the crew cannot use it then he can switch it off and back to paper

The issue here is tankers switching off the AIS to avoid detection while dodging sanctions.

follow them with subs then use torpedoes

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They are just trying to defend themselves again some illogical and unilateral “sanctions” forced on them for homegrown US political reasons.

No other nation has imposed sanctions on COSO, or accepted the sanctions against Iran for sticking to the agreement made in good faith with 5 major powers and EU.

If this was a UN sanction it would be legal and everybody are supposed to comply, but to unilaterally impose sanction on a nation because you don’t like your predecessor (for whatever reason) and on a Shipping company because you think it helps to get out of the mess you created by declaring a “trade war” against another country is plainly and simply a sign of a burgeoning dictator with an over inflated opinion of himself.

Are you advocating killing innocent seafarer in a forum for just such individual??
Or do you want to see a WWIII?

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt by thinking that you were just trying to be funny, however tasteless a joke.

No argument here. Sanctions can only be effective if a powerful nation can twist the arms of weaker ones. It’s a form of bullying on a global scale.

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