Articles written by Lars Brandstäter

Shipspotter Kunadt: Paparazzo of Vesseltraffic

in Community by

What a special story of Hamburgs famous shipspotter Thomas Kunadt.
Over the last 15 Years he collected images and data for more then 300.000 vessels.
His passion for vessels brought him to over hundreds of ports worldwide.

It is fascinating to hear about his great engagement and love for a topic we follow deeply here.

Thomas Kunadt konzentriert sich seit vielen Jahren in seiner Arbeit als Fotograf auf Schiffe und hat in der Vergangenheit bereits mehrere Bildbände als Shipspotter verfasst. Sein neuestes Werk widmet sich Hamburger Reedereien und ihren Schiffen. Mit zahlreichen ganzseitigen Abbildungen und kompakten Flottenlisten bietet das Buch einen spannenden Blick auf die Schifffahrt in Hamburg.
Für dieses Projekt hat der Autor etwa 15 000 aus seinem Archiv ausgewählt. Die besten daraus finden sich in diesem Band.

Der Mann ist Weltmeister. Schiffsbeobachter nennt sich seine Spezies; international: “Shipspotter”. Kaum einer auf der Erde hat mehr Schiffe fotografiert als er, niemand hat mehr Schiffsdateien registriert als er. In dicken Aktenordnern lagern 80 000 Dias. Aus Zeiten der analogen Fotografie. Insgesamt hat Kunadt 310 000 Bilder gemacht; 180 000 Fotos sind auf seinem Rechner gespeichert. Unter dem Strich hat er 838 000 Schiffsnamen weltweit erfasst – etwa ab anno 1830. Das Ergebnis von 16 Jahren harter Arbeit. In Hamburg, aber auch in 112 anderen Häfen weltweit. Von Tasmanien bis Mombasa….

Thomas Kunadt: «Hamburger Reeder und ihre Schiffe.» Hamburg: Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, 2010.

AUDIO German:
Hörpunkt Hafenkänge

Nehmen Sie sich eine Stunde und hören Sie: Der Hamburger Hafen Link:
Shipspotter Kunadt: Paparazzo des Schiffsverkehrs

Hamburger Abendblatt:

New on FleetMon: Vessel speed statistics and validity hints

in News, Site Updates by

With a small site update today, we are happy to announce two small but very useful new features on

For every active ship, FleetMon now records extensive speed statistics, so you can research average speed and maximum speed of about a quarter million vessels in the FleetMon Vessel Database right now!

Fleetmon knows average and maximum speed of more than a quarter milion vessels

Comparing “design speed” against the recorded, real-life speed and average performance is a most interesting and valuable information, for example in purchasing and chartering. Speed statistics values are available on Pro and Unlimited accounts.

Another new and practical feature are the new validity hints for vessel IMO number and Callsigns. Whenever Fleetmon comes across an IMO number or a call sign that it thinks is not valid — be it by transmission error or lazy configuration of the vessel’s AIS sender –, FleetMon will display a warning sign beneath it:

We hope that these new little tools are helpful for you! As always, let us know what you think about it – we’re looking forward to your feedback.

Yacht tracking reloaded: Speed Sailing “Round Skagen”

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The Fleetmon Team is thrilled to follow the racing yacht SPEEDSAILING SEB during the race “Round Skagen”. The SEB is a 60 footer, former Volvo Ocean Race participant now based in the Fleetmon hometown Rostock, and the “Round Skagen Race”, leading 510 nm from Helgoland Island around Denmark to Kiel, is said to be the longest and most challenging high seas race in Germany.

Speedsailing SEB in action, photo (c) Martin Kringel
Coming right on the heels of the Marathon, this is another yacht choosing the FleetMon Satellite Tracking service to track their voyage and keep friends, families and partners up to date.

And, what’s more: They are currently leading, with some 15 nm lead on the runner-up! Go, SEB!

We’ll keep you posted with updates here and on our Twitter account. German-speaking users may also check out the Speedsailing Facebook page and their blog.


Update for your viewing pleasure:

Hafengeburtstag: Best pic(k)s on the Photobox!

in News, Site Updates by

A nice review of the Hamburg “Hafengeburtstag”, the traditional festival in celebration of Hamburg’s maritime heritage, has just been added to our ship lover’s photo app, the Fleetmon Photobox.

Enjoy some fine pickings from this event that show the famous “Schlepperballet” (tugs’ dance), the fire-fighting boats with their fountains, Aida cruise liners and much more on the Hamburg town skyline.

If you did not do so already, download the Fleetmon Photobox for iPhone/iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.
To see the Hafengeburtstag gallery, you may need to pull down the gallery list to the top to force a refresh.

The photos were kindly arranged by our fellow member Stevo, who also organizes regular ship spotting events in Dutch, Belgian and German ports. Recommended!

你好中国!(Hello China!)

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Today we have the pleasure to introduce the Chinese-speaking Fleetmon. Welcome, Chinese visitors, we hope this makes the Fleetmon website and tools much easier to use for you!

Start here:
and inspect the large Chinese fleet in the FleetMon Vessel Database.

We are looking forward to your feedback on the translation. If you think that something could be rephrased more clearly, don’t hesitate to send your comments to support(at)

Please note: Vessel traffic in Chinese ports is accessible only to users with a “Pro” or “Unlimited” account.

2.000 miles on the sea: Yacht tracking on FleetMon

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FleetMon’s fellow member Rob is currently on a 2.000 mile sailing trip, helping transfer the 45 foot yacht Marathon from Barcelona in Spain to Falmouth in England.

Sailing is about the best thing you could do during these sunny days of May, and the FleetMon team here is a little jealous, to be honest ;-)

Rob took one of our FleetMon Satellite Tracking transponders on board so we can follow their trip closely right here on Having started in Barcelona on April 20th, they passed Gibraltar Strait on May 3rd and then sailed up the Portuguese and Spanish west coast, with stopovers in Quarteira, Cascais and Bayona (near Vigo). Entering the Bay of Biscay they faced strong winds up to force ten and had to change course to head into A Coruña in Galicia, Spain.

Every hour during their past trip, the small FleetMon Satellite transponder reports their position to FleetMon, so the crew’s friends and family can take part in the adventure and are always kept up to date about the ship’s whereabouts, either here on or with the free FleetMon Satellite Tracking app for Android and iOS phones.

Because the transponders send via their own satellite communication, the Marathon’s position is guaranteed to come in even when on high seas, and it does not matter whether they are close enough to an AIS receiver station. Well, the Marathon does not even have an AIS sender, so the FleetMon Satellite tracker was the most convenient (and cheapest) tracking solution anyway! It is just the size of a cigar box and is battery powered, hence does not need any cabling. In fact, it does not even need to be installed: Rob told us he just put it somewhere under deck and switched it on.

The last leg of the trip will lead them across the English Channel to Falmouth. Due to bad weather the Marathon crew don’t know when they can set sails again yet, but we’ll keep you posted!

Dear Crew, we wish you a save trip over to Falmouth, and may there always be enough water beneath your keel! Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

You can reach Rob by e-mail at rob(at) For questions on FleetMon Satellite Tracking and tracking your ship with FleetMon, feel free to contact support(at)

Please note: Rob send in some photos from the trip that normally cannot be published on These photos will be removed after the trip.

Welcome to new AIS ports and areas! 2012-04

in AIS Station Update, Community by

Welcome to new ports and areas with live ship traffic on, Fleetmon Explorer and Fleetmon mobile! Here is the April 2012 roundup … thanks to everybody involved for the kind cooperation!

Follow “AIDAmar” on her trial route from Emden into the North Sea

in News by

The AIDAmar reached the port of Emden without problems after leaving the Meyer Yard in Papenburg for here journey on the river Ems. The nineth cruise ship of AIDA Cruises from Rostock, Germany is scheduled for tests in the north sea, return is planned for the 15th of April.

On April the 17th the vessel will do the second round of tests, probably in the Skagerak like all trials of “Meyer Werft”. Planned finish is April the 20th, “AIDAmar” the will stay in Emden until the 3rd of May waiting for her “Clubnacht”.

With ETA Hamburg for the 4.5 – 6.5 und 6.5 – 8.5.2012 she is doing “Fanreisen” and another cruise for expediences.

Her baptise will be in Hamburg during the “Hafengeburtstag” on the 12 th of May 2012.

привет FleetMon – Hello Russia!

in News, Site Updates by

Здравствуйте наши дорогие русскоговорящие пользователи! A warm Hello to our Russian-speaking users!

Как и обещали, мы предоставляем к вашим услугам на русском языке и надеемся, что Вы останетесь довольны.

Конечно, нам нужно еще многое доработать: в нашем переводе имеются некоторые «пробелы», и возможно Вам будут встречаться опечатки и ошибки, которые мы еще не успели исправить.

Однако мы не хотим больше заставлять Вас ждать и  надеемся на Вашу поддержку. Чтобы сообщить нам об обнаруженных ошибках или поделиться с нами своими замечаниями и предложениями по поводу работы сайта, используйте следующую ссылку:

Мы ждем Ваших сообщений и будем работать над усовершенствованием нашего сайта!

As promised, we proudly present you in Russian and hope you enjoy it.

Of course, there is still a “little” to do:
Our translation has some gaps and there are surely one or two typing errors and layout failures, we haven’t noticed so far.

However, we did not want to make you waiting any longer and now put our trust in your support. Please use the following link to inform us of any failures you find, improvements, suggestions and feedback:
We are looking forward to all your messages and will keep on improving!

Welcome to new AIS ports and areas! 2012-03

in AIS Station Update, Community by

Welcome to new ports and areas with live ship traffic on, Fleetmon Explorer and Fleetmon mobile! Quite a nice list this month … thanks to everybody involved for the kind cooperation!

  • US, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
  • UK, Shetland Islands — thanks Gilbert!
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis, Basseterre — thanks Tony!
  • NL, IJsselmeer/Urk — thanks Jan!
  • NO, Bodø — thanks Dag!
  • DE, Spree Berlin/Potsdam — thanks Vincenzo!
  • BR, Vitória, Vila Velha and Tubarão — thanks Werther!
  • UK, Weymouth and Portsmouth — thanks David!

…and last but certainly not least: The Panama Canal is back on FleetMon, with excellent coverage of Panama City, Balboa and the Miraflores locks:

CORAL PRINCESS, MAERSK DHARAN and others live in the Miraflores locks, Panama Canal, seen with Fleetmon Explorer

CORAL PRINCESS, MAERSK DHARAN and others live in the Miraflores locks, Panama Canal, seen with Fleetmon Explorer