1. Introduction:
    The Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) are automatic tracking systems used on ships and by shore-based vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, and satellites. They, thus, supplement marine radars.
    Information provided by AIS equipment, such as unique identification, position, course, and speed, can be displayed on screens. This provides significant assistance to vessel’s watch-standing officers and allow maritime authorities (port authorities and coast guard) to track and monitor vessel movements inside or outside territorial waters.
    AIS integrates a standardized VHF transceiver with a positioning system such as a GPS or LORAN-C receiver, with other electronic navigation sensors, such as a gyrocompass or rate of turn indicator. Vessels fitted with AIS transceivers and transponders can automatically exchange data (unique identification and navigational information) with other nearby vessels, and can be tracked by AIS base stations located along coast lines or, when  out of range of terrestrial networks, through a growing number of satellites that are fitted with special AIS receivers.
    The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nation’s specialized agency concerned with maritime transport and safety at sea, realized the importance and potential of AIS. Therefore, the 2002 IMO SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) Agreement included a mandate that required most vessels over 300 GT on international voyages to fit a Class A type AIS transceiver (specifications published in 1998). In 2006, The specifications for the Class B type AIS transceiver was published, designed to enable a simpler and lower cost AIS device, triggering a large-scale rollout of AIS devices onto vessels of all sizes commercially available (even fishing boats).
  2. AIS Standards:
    The International Maritime Organization (IMO) creates the carriage requirements for AIS, stipulating vessels of certain size and type have to carry AIS devices, and their types (Class and/or Search and Rescue (SAR) transceivers) and the overall general requirements that the system must satisfy.
    Once the carriage requirements had been agreed, the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) create the standards that all AIS devices are measured against (Refer to Recommendation ITU-R M.1371-4).
    Once those standards have been decided, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) creates test standards which the devices are tested against.
    The System’ equipment’s technical specifications (RI111) are available at CITC’ website. These specifications provide the technical basis for approving and custom-clearing the system’s equipment. Individuals and Importing and marketing entities involved shall obey and stick to these technical specifications.
  3. Types of AIS Equipment:
    1. Class A: Ship-borne mobile equipment intended to meet the performance standards and carriage requirements adopted by IMO, the ITU specifications detailed in the Recommendation ITU-R M.1371-3, and the IEC standards (IEC 61993-2).
    2. Class B: Ship-borne mobile equipment which is interoperable with all other AIS stations, but does not meet all the performance standards adopted by IMO. This type obeys the ITU specifications detailed in the Recommendation ITU-R M.1371-3, and the IEC standards (IEC 62287-1 and 62287-2).
    3. Search and Rescue Aircraft Equipment (IEC standards yet to be developed).
    4. AIS Aid to Navigation: Shore-based or mobile station providing location and status of an aid to navigation (ATON). This type obeys the ITU specifications detailed in the Recommendation ITU-R M.1371-3, and the IEC standards (IEC 62320-2), and is usually licensed to port authorities and coast guard.
    5. AIS Search and Rescue Transmitter (SART): Mobile equipment to assist homing to itself (i.e., life boats, life raft). Refer to the ITU specifications detailed in the Recommendation ITU-R M.1371-3, and the IEC standards (IEC 61097-14).
    6. AIS Base Station: Shore-based station providing text messages, time synchronization, meteorological or hydrological information, navigation information or position of other vessels. Refer to the ITU specifications detailed in the Recommendation ITU-R M.1371-3, and the IEC standards (IEC 62320-1).
  4. Conditions for Importing and Custom-Clearing the Equipment:
    1. Individual Vessel Owners:
      1. Ensuring that the equipment to be imported shall fully comply with CITC specifications RI111;
      2. Filling and submitting the Custom-Clearance Form with all the required attachments;
      3. The Custom-Clearance Form may be submitted directly to CITC before the shipment’s arrival at the designated port in the Kingdom.   If upon arrival, the equipment is found to comply with the specifications, CITC shall direct the Custom-Clearance request to the Customs Authority.
    2. Commercial Companies and Establishments (Importers):
      1. The Commercial Register of the importer must contain the commercial activity of importing, marketing, installing and maintaining wired and wireless telecommunication and IT equipment;
      2. Ensuring that the equipment to be imported shall fully comply with CITC specifications RI111;
      3. Filling and submitting the Custom-Clearance Form with all the required attachments;
      4. The Custom-Clearance Form may be submitted directly to CITC before the shipment’s arrival at the designated port in the Kingdom.   If upon arrival, the equipment is found to comply with the specifications, CITC shall direct the Custom-Clearance request to the Customs Authority.
  5. Registration Procedures of AIS Devices:
    1. When ​Importing the Equipment by the User:
      1. ​The individual, owner of vessel(s), importing AIS equipment for personal usage shall duly fill the application form for Ship Station Radio License and submit it to CITC, attaching a copy of National ID/Iqama.
      2. ​After verifying compliance with all the requirements stipulated in the application and providing CITC with a proof that the vessel, intended to install the AIS equipment on, is registered with the Department of Roads and Transport of the Ministry of Transport, CITC shall issue the required license including the serial number of the AIS equipment.
    2. When Importing the Equipment by Commercial Importing Companies/Establishments: 
      1. The importing commercial company/establishment, whose commercial register includes the activity of importing, marketing, installing and maintaining wired and wireless telecommunication and IT equipment, shall duly fill the application form for Ship Station Radio License on behalf of the individuals buying the equipment from them and ensure attaching all the required documents and satisfying all the relevant requirements and submit the complete application to CITC. In case the vessel has a valid radio license previously issued by CITC, it is only necessary to provide CITC with the original radio license in order to add the AIS serial number to it.
      2. In case of a new vessel or one having no previously issued radio license,CITC shall issue the required license including the serial number of the AIS equipment, after verifying compliance with all the requirements stipulated in the application and providing CITC with a proof that the vessel, intended to ​install the AIS equipment on, is registered with the Department of Roads and Transport of the Ministry of Transport.
      3. CITC shall deliver the original Ship Station Radio License to the licensed commercial importer in order to hand it over to the designated equipment buyer individual. The commercial importer shall keep a copy of the license to show to authorities when requested to. 
  6. Transfer of Ownership of AIS Equipment:
    For the transfer of ownership, the new owner must obtain a Transfer of Ownership Document issued by the Department of Roads and Transport  certifying the transfer of ownership to him from the old owner, and submit it to CITC, or one of its regional offices, together with the National ID and the duly filled application form for a Ship Station Radio License.
  7. Request to cancel the AIS License:
    In case the vessel owner wishes to cancel the Ship Station AIS Radio License, one of the following two options shall be adopted:
    1. Submit an AIS license cancellation request to CITC, together with the AIS equipment to be destroyed by CITC in accordance with the valid regualtions and procedures.
    2. Exporting the equipment outside the Kingdom, and providing CITC with the exportation documents including the equipment serial number.​