Regulations Amending the Navigation Safety Regulations (Automatic Identification Systems): SOR/2019-100
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 153, Number 9
SOR/2019-100 April 15, 2019
CANADA SHIPPING ACT, 2001
P.C. 2019-325 April 12, 2019
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Transport, pursuant to subsections 35.1(1) and 120(1) of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 footnote a, makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Navigation Safety Regulations (Automatic Identification Systems).
Regulations Amending the Navigation Safety Regulations (Automatic Identification Systems)
1 Section 65 of the Navigation Safety Regulations footnote 1 is replaced by the following:
65 (1) Every vessel of 150 gross tonnage or more that is carrying more than 12 passengers and engaged on an international voyage shall be fitted with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) Class A.
(2) Every vessel, other than a fishing vessel, of 300 gross tonnage or more that is engaged on an international voyage shall be fitted with an AIS Class A.
(3) Every vessel, other than a fishing vessel, of 500 gross tonnage or more that is not engaged on an international voyage shall be fitted with an AIS Class A.
(4) Every vessel, other than a vessel subject to subsections (1) to (3), that is engaged on a voyage other than a sheltered waters voyage shall be fitted with an AIS Class A that meets the standards specified at item 15 of Schedule 1 or an AIS Class B if
- (a) the vessel is certified to carry more than 12 passengers; or
- (b) the vessel is eight metres or more in length and is carrying passengers.
(5) The AIS shall
- (a) automatically provide information, including the vessel’s identity, type, position, course, speed and other safety-related information, to appropriately equipped shore stations, other vessels and aircraft;
- (b) automatically receive such information from similarly fitted vessels;
- (c) monitor and track vessels; and
- (d) exchange data with shore-based facilities.
(6) The AIS Class A shall be operated taking into account the annex to IMO Resolution A.917(22), Guidelines for the Onboard Operational Use of Shipborne Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).
(7) The AIS Class B shall meet one of the following standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission:
- (a) IEC 62287-1: Maritime navigation and radiocommunication equipment and systems — Class B shipborne equipment of the automatic identification system (AIS) — Part 1: Carrier-sense time division multiple access (CSTDMA) techniques; or
- (b) IEC 62287-2: Maritime navigation and radiocommunication equipment and systems — Class B shipborne equipment of the automatic identification system (AIS) — Part 2: Self-organising time division multiple access (SOTDMA) techniques.
(8) Every vessel fitted with an AIS shall maintain it in operation at all times.
(9) Subsections (5) and (8) do not apply
- (a) where international agreements, rules or standards provide for the protection of navigational information; or
- (b) in respect of vessels, other than vessels operated for a commercial purpose, owned or operated by Her Majesty in right of Canada or by a foreign government that is a party to the Safety Convention.
(10) For the purposes of subsection (4), sheltered waters voyage has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Vessel Certificates Regulations.
(11) For the purposes of section 51 and paragraph 52(1)(a), an AIS Class B is not considered to be equipment referred to in this section.
2 The portion of item 15 of Schedule 1 to the Regulations in column 1 is replaced by the following:
Automatic identification systems (AISs) Class A
3 These Regulations come into force on June 15, 2019.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
Issues: As certain whale populations, including the Southern Resident Killer Whale and the North Atlantic Right Whale, remain critically endangered, there is a need for the Government of Canada (the Government) to take additional measures to further protect and support the recovery of these endangered species. Further, as passengers on board commercial vessels put their trust in the operators to conduct the safest possible voyage, there is a need to improve marine safety, which has also been identified as a government priority.
Description: This amendment to the Navigation Safety Regulations aims to expand the Automatic Identification System (AIS) carriage requirements to a wider category of Canadian and non-Canadian passenger vessels.
Rationale: To support the protection and recovery of Southern Resident Killer Whales and other endangered species, such as the North Atlantic Right Whale, Transport Canada is amending the Navigation Safety Regulations to expand the Automatic Identification System carriage requirements to a wider category of passenger vessels.
As one of the threats to the Southern Resident Killer Whale is related to underwater disturbance from marine vessels (e.g. noise), which can have adverse effects on things such as foraging grounds, communication, and reproduction, the expansion of the carriage requirements of the Automatic Identification System will strengthen the surveillance and enforcement of current and future requirements respecting the disturbance of the whales by small vessels. Having access to Automatic Identification Systems data is critical as it will inform future protection measures of this endangered species and the protection of other species.
The expansion of the Automatic Identification System requirements will also strengthen the surveillance and enforcement of current safety requirements that are themselves due to the presence of the North Atlantic Right Whale presence, and future requirements relating to endangered species.
Furthermore, an Automatic Identification System is an emerging technology that represents a significant step forward in enhancing the safety of passengers on board vessels by reducing the risk of collisions on water and improving the Government’s ability to respond to events and locate vessels in distress. The expansion of these carriage requirements will also further enhance navigation safety in terms of search and rescue efforts and collision avoidance.
Certain whale populations, including the Southern Resident Killer Whale and the North Atlantic Right Whale, remain critically endangered. Transport Canada, along with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada, has committed to protecting Southern Resident Killer Whales and North Atlantic Right Whales. The preservation of these species relies on a variety of government initiatives (e.g. Whales Initiative: Protecting the Southern Resident Killer Whale) operating together. Failure to implement the plans in a timely manner could increase the risk that more whales could die unnecessarily in the future.
As the plan is to have additional measures in place by the time the whales usually return to the Salish Sea in greater numbers in late spring 2019, these measures are to be implemented before the migration begins. These measures include extending the existing Automatic Identification System requirements under the Navigation Safety Regulations, for which the enabling legislation is the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, to smaller commercial vessels. Having access to Automatic Identification Systems data is critical as it will inform future protection measures of endangered species, such as the Southern Resident Killer Whale.
There is also a pressing need for the Government to take additional measures given the continued threats facing Southern Resident Killer Whales, and the need to ensure that they can recover while Vancouver, British Columbia, continues to grow as a trade corridor to Asian markets.
In addition to the protection of endangered whales, this amendment will enhance marine safety for persons travelling by passenger vessel. An Automatic Identification System is an emerging technology that represents a significant step forward in enhancing the safety of travellers by reducing the risk of collisions on water and improving the Government’s ability to respond to events and locate vessels in distress.
Greater protection of the Southern Resident Killer Whale
The endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale is an iconic species with cultural significance for Indigenous peoples and coastal communities in British Columbia that faces significant threats to its survival and recovery. These threats relate to the lack of availability of prey (mainly Chinook salmon); acoustic (noise) and physical disturbance from marine vessels; and contaminants in the water.
On May 18, 2018, the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (as the minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency) assessed that Southern Resident Killer Whales are facing imminent threats to their survival and recovery due to low population numbers, poor condition, and lack of reproduction.
On June 22, 2018, the Whales Initiative was announced by the Minister of Transport and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. This $167.4 million initiative, under Budget 2018, will protect and support the recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whale, the North Atlantic Right Whale, and the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga Whale through comprehensive actions tailored to address the unique combinations of threats to their safety.
Specifically with regard to the Southern Resident Killer Whale, the announcement included immediate and comprehensive action to support their recovery by addressing the main threats they face. Key actions include, among other things, reducing disturbance from underwater vessel noise by imposing a new mandatory requirement for all marine vessels (including recreational boats) to stay at least 200 m away from killer whales, effective July 11, 2018, and developing the necessary tools to implement mandatory measures, where needed, to reduce noise from vessel traffic.
On October 31, 2018, the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced a suite of additional bold measures focused on broadening and strengthening protection for the species. These measures include, among other things, the amendments that Transport Canada is proposing to make to the Navigation Safety Regulations to expand the carriage requirements for Automatic Identification Systems to a wider category of passenger vessels. An additional $61.5 million is being committed to implement the new measures.
What is an Automatic Identification System and what can it do?
An Automatic Identification System is a navigational tool that provides information such as the ship’s identity, type, position, and speed, as well as other safety-related information. An Automatic Identification System transmits and receives data from vessels and from shore over very high radio frequencies. When carried on board vessels, an Automatic Identification System can enhance situational awareness and provide useful information for search and rescue responders.
There are two types of Automatic Identification Systems: a Class A system and a Class B system. A Class A system is shipborne equipment designed to meet the performance standards and carriage requirements adopted by the International Maritime Organization, whereas a Class B system is shipborne equipment that is interoperable with all other Automatic Identification System stations, but does not meet all the performance standards adopted by the International Maritime Organization. A Class B Automatic Identification System essentially transmits less information, less often and at a lower power.
This system can also assist in the collection of aggregate data relating to the cumulative impacts of vessel disturbances on endangered marine mammals and critical habitats. The data will enhance Transport Canada’s ability to monitor marine traffic in sensitive areas for endangered whale species, including detecting a wider category of vessels that are not complying with speed restrictions in mandatory or voluntary slowdown zones. It will provide information that will result in a better ability to model and assess conservation measures for these species.
Current regulatory regime
Under the current regulatory regime, the following vessels must be fitted with a Class A Automatic Identification System on board: (i) larger domestic vessels of 500 gross tonnage or more; (ii) vessels that are 150 gross tonnage or more that are carrying more than 12 passengers and engaged on an international voyage; and (iii) vessels, other than a fishing vessel, that are 300 gross tonnage or more that are engaged on an international voyage.
Greater protection of the North Atlantic Right Whale
Vessel strikes are a major concern for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale and are a navigational safety concern. Between June and September 2017, 12 North Atlantic Right Whales died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with four of these deaths showing signs of blunt force trauma consistent with vessel strikes. In response, Transport Canada introduced speed restrictions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Vessels that were 20 m or longer in length were limited to a maximum speed of 10 knots when travelling in this area. This was a temporary seasonal restriction put in place from April 28, 2018, until November 15, 2018.
Further, Fisheries and Oceans Canada temporarily closed several fishing areas in New Brunswick and Quebec, in efforts to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale from vessel strikes.
The extended Automatic Identification System requirements will help in detecting a wider category of vessels that are not complying with the speed restrictions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. While this is being done to contribute to navigational safety, it has the secondary effect of protecting the North Atlantic Right Whale.
Enhancing marine safety
Passengers on board commercial vessels of various ages, mobility, and international backgrounds are generally unfamiliar with the safety of ships or water conditions, and have a high expectation that they will be safe. Therefore, the trust factor placed on the owner-operator of these passenger vessels is relatively high. Many operators use Transport Canada certification as a signal to the travelling public that they meet all safety requirements.
The expanded Automatic Identification System requirements will enhance marine safety in terms of search and rescue efforts and collision avoidance for a substantial portion of the fleet of passenger vessels, with the exception of a few smaller passenger vessels.
This regulatory amendment aligns with the instructions in the Minister of Transport’s mandate letter commitment to work with the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to improve marine safety.
The objectives of this regulatory amendment are to
- 1. support the protection and recovery of Southern Resident Killer Whales and other endangered species, such as the North Atlantic Right Whale; and
- 2. further enhance navigation safety in terms of search and rescue efforts and collision avoidance.
This regulatory amendment to the Navigation Safety Regulations will expand the Automatic Identification System carriage requirements to a wider category of Canadian and non-Canadian passenger vessels that are navigating in Canadian waters.
Specifically, section 65 of the Navigation Safety Regulations is being amended to extend Automatic Identification System Class A or Class B carriage requirements to vessels that are certified to carry more than 12 passengers or to vessels that are 8 m or more in length and are carrying passengers. The owners of these vessels will have a choice of installing a Class A or Class B Automatic Identification System.
The 12-passenger threshold aligns with requirements under the Navigation Safety Regulations and with certification requirements under the Vessels Certificates Regulations. The eight-metre threshold aligns with subsection 7(1) of the Ship Station (Radio) Regulations, 1999, which requires that all ships that are eight metres or more in length be equipped with a Very High Frequency radiotelephone. Both an Automatic Identification System and Very High Frequency radiotelephone work on Very High Frequency and their power requirements are similar. The eight-metre threshold was also introduced to capture vessels that are carrying 12 or less passengers and are not certified.
Passenger vessels that are operating in sheltered waters footnote 2 will be excluded from this carriage requirement because sheltered waters voyages are found to be low risk. Therefore, vessels that operate only on sheltered waters voyages may be subject to reduced safety requirements due to this low-risk operating environment.
In addition, in the regulatory amendments, the use of the terms “ship” and “tons” will be replaced with “vessel” and “gross tonnage” to be consistent with the defined terms in the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Also, the definition of a “sheltered waters voyage,” as per the new subsection 65(10) of the amended Regulations, will be the definition as it currently appears in the Vessel Certificates Regulations.
Affected stakeholders include owners of commercial vessels registered in Canada as passenger vessels or ferries, if their vessels are certified to carry more than 12 passengers or if their vessels are eight metres or more in length and are carrying passengers.
Other government departments that were consulted on this initiative are Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, and Environment and Climate Change Canada. All three departments are supportive of the amendments.
Consultations on a separate regulatory proposal to introduce new Navigation Safety Regulations have been led through the regional and national Canadian Marine Advisory Council meetings since 2007. The consultations included, among other things, the proposal to expand the Automatic Identification System carriage requirements to passenger vessels carrying more than 50 passengers. Stakeholder reaction regarding this threshold has been positive.
These consultations did not include the regulatory amendment to expand the Automatic Identification System carriage requirements to a wider category of passenger vessels as mentioned above. However, some stakeholders were aware that this initiative was forthcoming as it was linked to the recent government announcement of further actions to help protect the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale (which indicated that actions to be taken would include the expansion of Automatic Identification System carriage requirements to a wider category of passenger vessels).
During consultations leading up to the Whales Initiative, a key gap that was mentioned by multiple stakeholders (representatives from the shipping industry, Indigenous peoples, commercial fishers, the whale-watching industry, etc.) was the lack of Automatic Identification Systems on all vessels, specifically commercial whale-watching vessels. Following the finding of an imminent threat, Transport Canada began to look at additional measures that could further supplement the Whales Initiative measures announced in June 2018. This led to a specific focus on vessel traffic from smaller vessels as a result of their impact or presence in key foraging areas, and the consideration of expanding Automatic Identification System carriage requirements to small passenger vessels.
The idea was presented on November 1, 2018, to the Indigenous and Multistakeholder Advisory Group, established to help inform measures related to the Southern Resident Killer Whale and led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This Advisory Group includes representatives from the shipping industry, Indigenous peoples, sport and recreational fishers, commercial fishers, BC Ferries, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the whale-watching industry (through the Pacific Whale Watch Association), environmental groups (including the World Wildlife Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Georgia Strait Alliance and the David Suzuki Foundation), and the Vancouver Aquarium. Overall, there was a positive response to the announcement that this proposal was being developed by all members of the Indigenous and Multistakeholder Advisory Group.
Consultations on this regulatory amendment were also held face-to-face through the November 2018 national Canadian Marine Advisory Council meeting. Online consultations were also led using Transport Canada’s Let’s Talk Transportation platform, which was launched on November 14, 2018. Outreach targeted sector-specific associations most likely to be impacted, including Indigenous peoples. Affected stakeholders were also notified of this initiative through the Canada Gazette, Part I, prepublication process and had 15 days to comment.
Prepublication in the Canada Gazette, Part I
The proposal was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on February 9, 2019, followed by a 15-day comment period. Comments were received from two stakeholders. The Department received comments from a small seasonal tourism operator from the Magdalen Islands and from Shipwrite Productions, a company that produces books about electronic navigation.
Small seasonal tourism operator (Quebec region)
This stakeholder runs a small tourism business that operates three months per year and raised concerns with the cost of having to purchase an Automatic Identification System given existing equipment requirements and associated costs. He also commented that this regulatory amendment should not apply to vessels that transit fewer than 20 nautical miles from shore, where there is less marine traffic, or to vessels operating in the Magdalen Islands area due to the lack of Southern Resident Killer Whales.
Under this regulatory amendment, Transport Canada took the issue of affordability into consideration and provided affected vessel owners with the flexibility to purchase a Class B Automatic Identification System, which is less costly than a Class A system. Also, consideration has already been given to lower-risk voyages (i.e. voyages in sheltered waters), and this amendment currently excludes passenger vessels that are operating in these waters. Moreover, the objective is not just to further protect Southern Resident Killer Whales, but to also protect other endangered species that are located across Canada, and to further enhance navigation safety.
Shipwrite Productions (Pacific region)
This stakeholder is supportive of this regulatory amendment. However, he raised concerns with regard to subsection 65(8) and paragraph 65(4)(b) of the Regulations. Subsection 65(8) is specific to the operation of Automatic Identification Systems. The issue he raised is with regard to the wording of this provision, which could be interpreted as being applicable to vessels that are not in operation. He expressed concern that if a number of vessels are secured to shore and their Automatic Identification Systems are left operational, it could interfere with the ability of other vessels to observe their radar or electronic charts in the dock or marina area. The operational guidance from Transport Canada is that the Automatic Identification System does not have to be in operation when the vessel is not engaged on a voyage. The wording for this provision will be made clearer through the separate regulatory proposal to introduce new Navigation Safety Regulations, for which the prepublication in the Canada Gazette, Part I, is planned for spring 2019.
The issue raised with regard to paragraph 65(4)(b) is specific to the carriage requirement for vessels that are eight metres or more in length and certified to carry passengers. He pointed out that under this provision, there could be potential gaps with regard to certification.
Transport Canada recognizes this issue and has made a minor amendment to paragraph 65(4)(b) to make this provision applicable to vessels that are eight metres or more in length and carrying passengers.
Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation
Consultations on this initiative were conducted with various stakeholders, including Indigenous peoples, over the past two years leading up to the development of the Whales Initiative. Indigenous peoples were also more recently consulted through the Indigenous and Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group and were generally supportive.
Consultations were also led online using Transport Canada’s Let’s Talk Transportation platform. These consultations also included Indigenous peoples.
It is anticipated that this amendment will impact a very minimal number of Indigenous peoples.
Benefits and costs
The benefits of the amendments include an enhanced ability to monitor marine traffic in sensitive areas for endangered whale species. This will provide information that will result in a better ability to model and assess conservation measures, and a greater ability to enforce these measures. Since an Automatic Identification System is primarily a navigation aid that increases the situational awareness of vessel operators, the amendments will also reduce the risk of loss of life or serious injury by reducing the risk of collisions and improving the ability of search and rescue teams to coordinate their response with other vessels in the area. The benefits of the amendments are discussed qualitatively.
The present value total cost of the amendments is $4.85 million. footnote 3 Vessel owners will assume the costs of purchasing, installing and maintaining a Class B Automatic Identification System unit. They will also assume the costs of training staff to operate and interpret units with a display.
In the Canadian Register of Vessels, there are about 1 355 vessels classified as Passenger, Ferry or Fishing/Passenger that are eight metres or more in length. Of those, 106 vessels are already equipped with an Automatic Identification System. Under the Automatic Identification System carriage expansion, only vessels operating outside of sheltered waters will be required to install an Automatic Identification System. Based on the operating area of the vessels, it was estimated that the incremental number of vessels required to carry an Automatic Identification System in 2019 would be 941.
The expected average annual growth rate for this type of vessel is just under 2%. This estimate is based on the registration rate of passenger vessels and ferries in the Canadian Register of Vessels that are eight metres or more in length (between 2008 and 2017), and are expected to operate outside sheltered waters. It is assumed that the number of vessels with an Automatic Identification System and the number of vessels that will require an Automatic Identification System will grow at the same rate.
Based on this growth rate, it is expected that, on average, two new vessels that meet the criteria of the amendments would install an Automatic Identification System per year, in the absence of the Regulations.
Under the regulatory amendments, an average of 30 vessels that meet the criteria of the amendments per year will be required to install an Automatic Identification System. The total inventory of passenger vessels and ferries that are eight metres or more in length is expected to increase by about 17 vessels per year. However, an additional 13 vessels per year, on average, would be required to replace retired vessels. Between 2019 and 2028, a total of 1 245 vessels would require an Automatic Identification System.
Automatic Identification Systems are a global standard, developed in coordination with several nations and international agencies, including the United Nations International Maritime Organization and the International Telecommunication Union. Since they are primarily collision avoidance systems, Automatic Identification Systems were designed to function globally and on an autonomous, continuous, open and non-proprietary protocol. This means that real-time data is available to anyone with a very high frequency receiver.
The public will benefit by gaining important data on the activity of vessels that operate most intensively around the critical habitat of the endangered whale species. The availability of these data improves the ability of researchers and government agencies to assess conservation measures in place and to develop new evidence-based measures in the future.
Automatic Identification System data has already been used in several studies associated with the protection and recovery of endangered whales. More vessels carrying Automatic Identification Systems would provide a larger dataset that would benefit public and commercial stakeholders.
For conservation science and research, Automatic Identification System data has been used for at least three main types of applications: describing vessel activity, assessing conservation impacts, and monitoring compliance. footnote 4
1. Describing the current vessel activity
Describing the current vessel activity will give researchers studying Canadian waters a clearer picture of the risks marine traffic poses to endangered whale species.
In Canadian waters, Automatic Information System data was used to map cumulative underwater acoustic energy from shipping traffic in the Pacific Ocean around Vancouver Island. A study found that high noise levels in critical habitats for endangered resident killer whales exceed the limits of “good conservation status” under the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive. footnote 5 Other studies used Automatic Identification System data to examine how vessel traffic interfered with North Atlantic Right Whales in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, off the coast of Massachusetts, United States, footnote 6 and how low-frequency noise correlated with ocean-based commercial shipping trends off the coast of southern California. footnote 7
Underwater noise reduction measures were enhanced to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales. Part of this initiative was to expand coverage of sound-measuring hydrophone networks to quantify ocean noise throughout the Southern Resident Killer Whale habitat range. This would be linked to Automatic Identification System vessel traffic data to develop a more detailed understanding of the factors contributing to underwater noise and how it affects the whales. footnote 8
2. Assessing or modelling potential environmental impacts
Automatic Identification System data will also provide information to support the definition of future marine protected and critical habitat areas, vessel operating restrictions, or other government departments in enforcing marine mammal protection measures.
Automatic Identification System data has been used to study the risks of humpback whales being struck by cruise ships off the coast of Alaska, footnote 9 as well as by cargo vessels transiting the Panama Canal. footnote 10 The latter study resulted in the International Maritime Organization adopting new speed control protocols around the Panama Canal in 2014.
3. Monitoring environmental compliance
Monitoring of environmental compliance will help enforce speed and proximity restrictions.
Studies using Automatic Identification System data to evaluate compliance with routing and speed rules put in place by the United States National Marine Fisheries Service to protect North Atlantic Right Whales found that a combination of mandatory speed controls and recommended routes off the coast of Florida and Georgia, United States, could reduce the probability of right whale mortality from vessel strikes in those waters by about 72 %. footnote 11
Since the introduction of speed reduction zones in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017, the Canadian Coast Guard has used Automatic Identification System data to issue warnings to vessel operators to inform them that they are entering a reduced speed zone or an operating area in which whales have recently been sighted. The expansion of Automatic Identification System carriage requirements will enable authorities to monitor a larger portion of the vessels operating in speed control zones, which will reduce the risk of vessel strikes and underwater noise disturbance.
Between April 28 and November 15, 2018, vessels were observed transiting the mandatory speed reduction zones in the Gulf of St. Lawrence 4 612 times. footnote 12 In 383 of these voyages, vessels were recorded travelling above the 10 knots limit. Of these 383 reported cases, 3 penalties were issued and 12 cases are under review.
Broader use of Automatic Identification Systems would assist the Coast Guard in monitoring vessels that operate around the critical habitat of endangered marine species and in identifying areas where whales might be disturbed by a concentration of vessels. This will help the enforcement of recent changes in rules for the mandatory minimum approach distance in critical habitat areas and areas where both Southern Resident Killer Whales and North Atlantic Right Whales were recently reported.
Reduced risk of loss of life or serious injuries
In addition to helping protect endangered whales, the amendments will reduce the risk of serious injury or fatality at sea by improving the ability of Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres to respond to vessels in distress.
When a distress message is broadcast, a Class A or Class B Automatic Identification System would allow the Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre to verify the last-known location of the distressed vessel, as well as that of any Automatic Identification System-equipped vessels nearby. Rescue units would be deployed with greater precision, and a response could be coordinated with nearby vessels. This would result in a faster response and in less time spent in the water, which could save lives.
In the past three years, there have been two high-profile passenger vessel incidents that resulted in multiple fatalities where the inability of search and rescue units to precisely locate the distressed vessel may have contributed to the number of casualties.
On October 25, 2015, the Leviathan II, a passenger vessel with 27 people on board, capsized while on a whalewatching excursion off Plover Reefs, in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia. The crew aboard the vessel was unable to issue a call for distress until a flare was fired 40 minutes after the incident. The ensuing search and rescue operation was hampered by a miscommunication relating to the vessel’s location. As a result, six people died, four people suffered serious injuries, and approximately 2 000 L of fuel leaked into the water. footnote 13
In April 2017, a nine metre–long commercial vessel, the Catatonic, took on water and the vessel stern sank below the waterline near Tofino, British Columbia. The operator contacted the Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat station for assistance, giving the location as three nautical miles off Bartlett Island. Because the vessel had lost power, the operator was unable to provide an exact location, which was actually six nautical miles from Bartlett Island. Search and rescue did not locate the vessel until just over 1.5 hours after the initial distress call. Although all aboard were recovered, two people were reported as deceased. Prolonged cold water immersion and associated cold water shock led to their drowning. footnote 14
Both of these vessels would be required to carry an Automatic Identification System pursuant to the amended Regulations.
Expanded Automatic Identification System carriage requirements will also improve situational awareness for all vessels carrying an Automatic Identification System. It will make other vessels carrying an Automatic Identification System in their vicinity more visible, allowing for earlier course adjustments, which will reduce the risk of collisions or near collisions.
Between 2008 and 2017, there was a total of 98 collisions or near collisions involving passenger vessels or ferries, resulting in five injuries.footnote 15 As shown in Table 1, in nearly 89% of these incidents, there was no Automatic Identification System on board these vessels.
|Incident Type||Total Occurrences||Occurrences Involving a Vessel Without an AIS||Occurrences Involving a Vessel Carrying an AIS||Injuries|
|Near collisions||65||55||10 (15%)||0|
Without in-depth knowledge of each incident, it is difficult to determine whether an Automatic Identification System could have prevented a particular collision. However, Automatic Identification Systems are expected to make a difference in at least some of the cases that would occur in the future. It should be noted that, for vessels carrying Automatic Identification Systems, there are more avoided collisions (near collisions) than collisions, which suggests that it makes a difference.
Damage from vessel collisions can be minimal or completely destroy the vessel. Aside from damage to the vessel, there could be casualties (injuries or fatalities) among the crew and passengers, and there could be damage to cargo. Severe collisions may result in the release of dangerous goods and pollutants, which could damage the environment. Collisions also result in lost operating revenue for the vessel owners, and lost time for passengers on board the vessels.
In addition to improving the safety of vessel operators and passengers, Automatic Identification Systems data can be instrumental in providing additional information for Transportation Safety Board and Transport Canada marine incident investigations in the event of an accident or incident. The data will be valuable for both government and academic research.
Owners of vessels registered in Canada will incur an estimated present value total cost of $4.85 million (in 2017 dollars) for the period 2019–2028, using a discount rate of 7%, or an annualized cost of $690,000 per year. Table 2 provides a breakdown of cost by region, and the estimated number of vessels in scope in each region.
|Region||Number of Affected Vessels||Present Value Total Cost
Automatic Identification Systems unit cost
Since a Class B Automatic Identification System costs less than a Class A system, it is assumed shipowners will comply with the regulations by installing a Class B Automatic Identification System on board their vessels. Units are commercially available from a variety of retailers. The estimated total cost to purchase and install a unit and train staff to operate it is $2,450. A breakdown of costs is presented in Table 3.
|Assumed Cost (2017 dollars)|
|Acquisition of AIS (transceiver, cables and antenna)||$1,650|
|Installation and set-to-work||$500|
|Acquisition, installation and training costs were adjusted from A Benefit-Cost Analysis for Automatic Identification System (AIS) on Canadian Domestic Vessels conducted by Weir Canada, Inc. Dollar values in 2009 are inflated to 2017 values using the Consumer Price Index.|
Class B Automatic Identification Systems units are fairly low maintenance and require little training to operate. A Class B Automatic Identification System installation consists of a main unit and two antennas that may be combined. The equipment requires little to no preventive maintenance. Mariners are mostly expected to be instructed on their use through on-the-job training.
The expected life of a unit is around 10 years. To account for the cost of training new staff, replacing broken antennas and cables or replacing damaged units, each vessel is expected to incur an average annual cost of $300. footnote 16 This is an average cost; many vessel owners would incur near zero annual costs for several years if they have no staff turnover and take reasonable care of their equipment.
|Base Year: 2019||Discount Rate: 7%||Price Year: $CAN 2017||Final Year: 2028|
|A. Quantified impacts|
|2019||2025||2028||Total (present value)||Annualized average|
|B. Qualitative benefits|
A sensitivity analysis was conducted varying the number of affected vessels and the costs associated with Automatic Identification Systems units.
Special attention was taken to ensure that vessel count estimates are as accurate as possible, but it is impossible to know the precise operating area of every vessel in Canada.
Costs would vary between vessels, depending on the type of unit purchased and the ease of installation. For vessel owners that purchase simple units that are easily installed, the present value total cost, including annual maintenance and training, may be as low as $2,200 over 10 years. More sophisticated units that are more labour-intensive to install, and require more maintenance and training, would have a present value total cost of around $6,600 over 10 years. In the central scenario, the present value total cost for one vessel to install and maintain an Automatic Identification System is estimated to be $4,400 over 10 years.
As shown in Table 4, the impact of the amendments remains low, even with an initial vessel count of 30% higher when the highest cost is assumed. For the regulatory amendment to have a significant impact, the number of affected vessels would need to be 38% greater than the central estimate (1 539 affected vessels by 2028) and the highest cost estimate ($6,600 per unit) would need to be used.
|Automatic Identification Systems Unit Cost|
|Vessel Count (Total by 2028)||
Annual — $200
Annual — $300
Annual — $400
|Low (−30% ) — 991 vessels||1.68||3.39||5.10|
|Central — 1 245 vessels||2.40||4.85||7.30|
|High (+30% ) — 1 580 vessels||3.11||6.30||9.48|
Small business lens
Around 95% of the affected vessel owners operate three vessels or fewer, and would likely be small businesses.
The amendments are designed to control the incremental burden on small businesses. The requirements allow vessel owners the option of purchasing a Class A or Class B Automatic Identification System. Class B units are less costly and easier to install than Class A units. Costs would be lower for smaller businesses since they would require less staff training.
The amendments affect only businesses with vessels certified to carry 12 passengers or more, or vessels that are 8 m or more in length and are carrying passengers. This exempts many smaller businesses that may have difficulty complying with the regulations.
The amendments will have no impact on administrative burden costs.
Regulatory cooperation and alignment
The more than 12 passenger threshold, associated with this regulatory amendment, aligns with the definition of passenger ship from Part A, Regulation 2, of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, which defines a passenger ship as a ship that carries more than 12 passengers. It also aligns with the Vessel Certificates Regulations.
The United States is also a signatory to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. However, this Convention exempts ships that are navigating the Great Lakes and their connecting and tributary waters as far east as the lower exit of the Saint-Lambert Lock in Montréal.
As a result, Transport Canada has reached out to the United States Coast Guard, as the current domestic requirements for American vessels (i.e. vessels operating in Canadian waters of the Great Lakes and the Canadian waters of the West Coast [Puget Sound]) are that all vessels that are 20 m (65 feet) or more in length and engaged in commercial service are required to be fitted with an Automatic Identification System. Given the threshold differences, some American vessels will need the meet the Automatic Identification System carriage requirements. Transport Canada was informed that this amendment would affect a small proportion of vessels operating in the Great Lakes and Puget Sound, and that some of these vessels are already voluntarily fitted with an Automatic Identification System.
Strategic environmental assessment
In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a preliminary scan concluded that a strategic environmental assessment is not required.
Gender-based analysis plus
No gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) impacts have been identified for this initiative.
Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards
All affected vessel will be required to comply with the new requirements by June 15, 2019.
Compliance and enforcement
Compliance and enforcement of these requirements will be addressed nationally through annual inspections for passenger vessels that are certified to carry more than 12 passengers. Checking whether an Automatic Identification System is on board will be added to the annual inspection.
In the case of passenger vessels that are 8 m or more in length and carrying 12 passengers or less, compliance and enforcement will be addressed nationally through current risk-based inspections.
Marine Safety and Security
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