Analytical services OWM AIS: Monitoring of pirate ships on the high seas - News

Analytical services OWM AIS: Monitoring of pirate ships on the high seas

Analytical services OWM AIS: Monitoring of pirate ships on the high seas

Posted on 2016-04-24 15:44 | Category: AIS, Satellite technologies

Fifteen men on a dead man's chest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

When a talk comes about pirates, usually the images of Captain Jack Sparrow, the traditional “Jolly Roger”, views of barrels of rum and old wooden chests full of gold coins spring to mind. Or it can be stories about Queen Elizabeth of England, Sir Francis Drake who defeated the Spanish Armada, and Sir Henry Morgan notorious for his Caribbean adventures. However maritime piracy did not sink into oblivion. Nowadays this theme has lost its romantic glory, but it still has its significance for a present-day society.

Basically a goal of pirates remains the same that is capture of hostages, goods and gold. And there is a little distinction from ancient times, not gold but ‘black gold’ (i.e. petroleum) consists the main interest of modern pirates these days. Attacking oil tankers that carry both petroleum and money is common practice for pirates in this day and age. Along with that, means used by pirates have greatly changed, namely equipment and technology.The rise in modern maritime piracy started in Somali waters and for a rather short period of time of 10 years it has expanded extremely: armory of pirates has become diversified and their strategies of capturing vessels developed.

According to Tactical Intelligence International, a business providing maritime security, military training and government consulting for over 10 years, pirates have started to use heavy weapons and specific facilities to climb up vessels and conduct their operations from so-called mother ships. Recent tactics of pirates include using of remote bases that enables them to control and carry out operations at a greater distance of the shore, and for a longer time.

    One of the main issues of the fight against piracy is pirates going further into the sea and thus making it harder for warships of the European Union to guard potentially dangerous areas. This fact decreases chances of assisting victimized vessels in time even if a message about an act of piracy is received.

Consequently, in spite of cooperation of naval forces of different states and the use of expensive preventive measures such as the presence of armed guards on board, the global problem of piracy has not been solved for several decades and it is still crucial.   One of the recommended measures to prevent attacks is to limit access to information on the movement of ships. However unfortunately, international practice shows that these measures are useless or, at least, they work for some time.

Throughout the world, data become easy to access, monitoring systems can be used by the general public. Any attempt to restrict information flows is pointless like the Luddite movement or disapproval of Uber application by taxi drivers operating individually. As a result, digital technologies are widely employed by pirates and drug cartels: hackers break into IT systems of ports, while pirates use AIS monitoring system, and shipping containers with the most expensive goods are tracked by barcode.

 One can assume that in the near future the way of the fight against piracy will obtain more technological characteristics.
Modern technologies in the field of satellite data allow conducting of such measures as the global monitoring of the movement of vessels, not only near the coast, but also in the open ocean, including the detection of ships which hide their personal information, i.e. potential pirates.

Current information about vessels for any polygon in an API response from an analytical service OWM AIS and monitoring of suspicious areas on satellite images make it possible to conduct an investigation in a particular area and to detect vessels that do not report their location, as well as to determine where and when a missing ship transmitted its last signal.Owing to technology of OWM Platform Big Data and availability of a direct source of satellite data from the company SpaceQuest, OpenWeatherMap develops complex products such as, for instance, Density Maps where the routes of vessels like oil tankers and container ships are clearly observed via current and historical position of vessel. And thus, knowing the places where pirates are most likely to appear, one can choose areas to monitor the route, the type and the presence of signal from vessel, not across the sea in general, but in definite most dangerous areas.

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