Maritec – About Us – Automatic Identification System (AIS)





Andre van den Berg has years experience in the Information & Communication Technology and Engineering industry, of which the last years were spent in the maritime industry.

Andre started Maritec Trust in 2004. He was Technical Director and Shareholder of Transnet SOC Limited subsidiary, Marine Data Systems Pty Ltd (1993 to 2004). Transnet is the largest transport organisation in Africa. Andre’s expertise and experience include the following:

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  • Automatic Identification System (AIS) (more detail below)
  • Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) (Port, River, Coastal – including RADAR)
  • Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA)
  • Coastal Surveillance Systems
  • Vessel Traffic Management Information Systems (VTMIS)
  • Port Community Systems
  • Port Management Systems
  • Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS)
  • eNavigation (IMO/IALA)
  • Information & Communication Technology
  • Business & System Analysis
  • Software Design & Development
  • System Engineering
  • System Integration
  • System Testing / Accreditation
  • Product Design / Engineering
  • Product Integration
  • Product Manufacturing
  • Product Type Approval / Accreditation
  • Consulting Services

Andre van den Berg is a Burport Marine Consultancy (Africa) Pty Ltd (BMC Africa) associate (senior consultant).

Automatic Identification System (AIS)

The role of Marine Data Systems (Pty) Ltd (MDS) and in particular those of its Technical Director Mr Andre van den Berg and Commercial and Operations Director Capt. Keith H. Burchell.

Mr. Andre van den Berg and Capt. Keith Burchell were founder members of Marine Data Systems (Pty) Ltd (1993), a subsidiary of Transnet Limited. Transnet is the largest transport company in Africa. Keith, an employee of the National Port Authority (Portnet / NPA) at the time was appointed to MDS as Chief Executive Officer. NPA is a subsidiary of Transnet. Andre a private individual, providing engineering, mobile data and tracking technology to MDS was a shareholder and Technical Director.

In November 1995, Portnet hosted the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) Radio Navigation conference in Cape Town.

At this conference it was recognised that MDS and GP&C Sweden AB, owned by Swedish Space Corporation at the time had been developing similar / complimentary technologies suitable for AIS. At this conference the inaugural IALA AIS meeting was scheduled for February 1996 in Norrkoping, Sweden (see photo below). GP&C Sweden was later sold to Saab and is now trading as Saab TransponderTech.

AIS Class A Specification and approval for compulsory carriage by all ships on International Voyages (Period 1995- 2004).

Andre and Keith were involved in various capacities in the development and standardisation of AIS, including drafting of the technical specifications, development of the necessary legislation and operational requirements for the mandatory implementation of AIS Class A and land based AIS, through participation in meetings of the following organisations:

  • International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
  • International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) (Radio Navigation & AIS)
  • Comité International Radio-Maritime (CIRM)
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  • Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM)

Keith was a Council Member of IALA, formation member of the AIS sub-committee of IALA and Technical Advisor to IMO on the subject for the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Andre, the AIS technical expert was a co-patentee of the TDMA semaphore synchronization method applied in AIS (ITU-R M.1371). MDS had the rights to this patent, which it made available to IMO for use in specifying Class “A” AIS (SOLAS) at no cost.

Andre also participated in the development and standardisation of AIS Search and Rescue (SAR), AIS Class B/CS and AIS Aids To Navigation.

Andre and Keith established various technology and business partners with international companies including Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG (DASA) (Germany) today known as European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) , Eurocom Industries (Denmark), Transas (Russia / UK) and Tideland Signal Corporation (USA).

During 1996 to 2002 Andre and Keith, as responsible Executives in Marine Data Systems, established and co-ordinated together with the respective Authorities concerned the following International AIS test projects.

  • INDRIS (Inland Navigation Demonstrator for River Information Systems), an European Union project, which together with the Dutch Ministry of Transport involved the provision, installation and integration of AIS mobiles, Base Stations and AIS Network with the Port and river VTS systems on the Danube, Seine, Flemish and Rhine-Scheldt, stretching from Rotterdam to the German border.
  • INCARNATION (Identification Of Administrative And Organisational Barriers And The Assessment Of Informational And Organisational Requirements And Functionalities Of An Efficient Inland Navigation Information System With Special Regard To Transport Capacity And Goods Flow, Safety Of Traffic And Transport Of Dangerous Goods) together with DASA, the relevant Dutch and German authorities and other stakeholders.
  • AIS Test project with Canadian Authorities on the Canadian west coast involving the Port of Vancouver, local ferries and visiting cruise liners.
  • Saint Lawrence Seaway AIS Network Development Project with the Canadian Authorities, extending to the Great Lakes.
  • Together with Trinity House (UK) and the Association of British Ports (ABP) the Marine and Coastguard Authority (MCA) as members of the organising committee the installation of a Test AIS system in the Solent area between Southampton and the Isle of Wight.
  • Phases I, 2 and 3 of the Kiel Canal test AIS Projects together with DASA and the German authorities.
  • Test AIS Project in Port of Klang in Malaysia

Under the guidance of Andre and Keith, MDS developed and manufactured AIS Class A (SOLAS), AIS Base Station and AIS Network products. The respective products received international type approval, which included EU MED (Wheelmark), German (BSH), Netherlands (Telefication BV), FCC (USA), CCS (China), Korean, Polish, Industry Canada, etc.