National and international trade via shipping is already significant, and expected to continue increasing rapidly over the next decade. Both more ships and larger ships will contribute to this trade, includingships from countries with less rigorous shipping maintenance and inspection standards than the United States, and less strict pollution monitoring regulations. Changes in ship traffic management protocols have been implemented in recent years in the U.S. to minimize damage to coastlines, particularly near sensitive or protected marine environments. For example, to reduce risk to coastal resources off central California, shipping lanes for larger vessels were moved further offshore to allow for additional response time in case of accidents before such vessels might drift into coastal areas. Similarly, shipsare now routed via specific approach channels when entering Boston Harbor to reduce impacts within adjacent National Marine Sanctuary resources. Several recent high profile cases have occurred where 'mystery' oil spills were found near shipping channels, but no vessel could be readily identified as their source. These incidents lead to extensive and expensive efforts to attempt to identify the shipsresponsible. As time passes in responding to these incidents, the likelihood of confirming the identity of the ships diminishes. Unfortunately, reports of vessels engaging in illegal oily waste discharge to reduce fees for offloading the waste in port are ongoing. We here discuss use of improved capabilities of near-continuous real-time position location monitoring of shipping traffic using marine AutomaticIdentification Systems (AIS) for ships that would facilitate identification of ships responsible for illegal oily waste discharge. The next phase of the National AIS, N-AIS Increment 2, can supply additional spatial coverage not currently included in the N-AIS Increment 1, which can provide an enhanced capability for monitoring shipping and improving managem- ent of coastal ship traffic and response to pollution incidents. These methods will not only improve response time, but reduce cost of response as well.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

IEEE Oceans



Conference Date

Sep 29 - Oct 4, 2007

Publisher Place

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Conference Proceeding