Maritime Traffic Information System Sistram

Brazil has signed the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR). Therefore, Brazil is required to utilize all available means to help any merchant ship in distress within its own SAR maritime area of responsibility.

To achieve this goal, Brazil uses the Maritime Traffic Information System (SISTRAM), an electronic information system for maritime traffic operated by the Naval Command for the Control of Maritime Traffic (COMCONTRAM). This system tracks all merchant vessels engaged in ocean, coastal, and inland navigation within the Brazilian SAR area.

SISTRAM is compatible with the AMVER system and provides quick identification of nearby vessels which may be capable of assisting ships in distress. In addition, the system can help to render urgent medical assistance.

The greater the number of vessels participating in the program, the greater the effectiveness, the reliability, and the security of the ships themselves. Therefore, all merchant ships are invited to participate in the system. Ships participating in the system add to the safety of life at sea as they can arrive at the scene of a SAR incident before any other means is sent from the shore.

Participation by Brazilian ships is mandatory; however, participation by foreign vessels is voluntary. The participation involves the transmission of standard type messages which are free when sent to COMCONTRAM through the Brazilian Coastal Radio Stations Network (RENEC).

Even though participating in SISTRAM by foreign vessels is voluntary, foreign vessels that are still within the Brazilian territorial sea of 12 miles are still required, under penalty of fines, to report the following information:

1. Position.

2. Course.

4. Port of departure.

5. Port of destination.

This information can be submitted through SISTRAM, participation in which is free of charge, provided the report is sent through RENEC.

Participation in SISTRAM begins when a vessel sends a Type 1 message (Sailing Plan) and ends when the vessel sends a Type 4 message (Final Report).

Any nonparticipating vessel may join SISTRAM at any time by sending a Type 1 message. Such a vessel may leave SIS-TRAM at any time by sending a Type 4 message. Line X should be completed in the Final Report, including the reason for terminating participation.

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