While reviewing AIS transmissions, the Maritime Administrator identified a vessel that had been removed from the Marshall Islands' registry after it was sold for scrap. Upon investigation, it was determined that the AIS unit from the scrapped vessel had been installed on another vessel and had not been reprogrammed. This represented a compromise of navigation safety and maritime security.
In addition to AIS, other navigation and communications systems contain vessel-specific information such as the vessel's name, IMO number, call sign, and MMSI. Owners, operators, and Masters of Marshall Islands-flagged vessels should ensure that vessel-specific information is deleted from the vessel's AIS, DSC-coded communications equipment, EPIRB, etc., before the vessel is transferred to a scrapper. Vessel identifiers should be removed from any communications or tracking equipment intended to be transferred to another vessel when it is removed. This should be performed by a qualified technician arranged through the shore-based maintenance contract company. This is to ensure that during the installation, the equipment is reprogrammed with the identifiers for the vessel on which it is installed.