FleetMon supports students and research partners when it comes to providing AIS data for academic purposes. In 2020, a Ph.D. student from the Department of Engineering Science of the University of Oxford reached out to us to receive certain AIS data for a project on the decarbonization of crucial shipping routes.
As speed to market is currently critical in tackling the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccines are only shipped by air at the moment. In the future, delivery by sea may become a viable alternative. We show the potential that shipping the vaccine by sea holds.
In 2021, we started to put the spotlight on our passionate ship spotters. Each month, we introduce another ship spotter or maritime enthusiast of FleetMon.com on the corporate blog. In March, you’ll meet Malcolm Cranfield (User name: Cranfield) from Great Britain.
He became a member of our community in September 2020 and uploaded 55 vessel photos for 33 different ships to FleetMon. Malcolm has an extensive maritime background spanning his entire life.
The maritime folklore of ghost ship, “Flying Dutchman” happens to be very popular and it has inspired hundreds of paintings, books, operas and movies. Are ghost ships only limited to the folklores and Halloween stories? In the world of modern maritime, the term ghost ship has a much more practical meaning.
Ghost ships are vessels floating with no living crew onboard. These abandoned vessels drift in the ocean and appear suddenly at some coast or are spotted midsea giving rise to a series of questions about ownership, crew safety, environmental hazard, security of state, etc. These vessels could have been abandoned under any unknown circumstances. Later these ships become subject to horror stories as these abandoned vessels have many unanswered questions, such as: What happened to the crew? From where did the vessel arrive? and many more attached to them. It is interesting to learn the reasons behind the abandonment of vessels which later turn up as ghost ships.
The pandemic has been hard on almost all sectors, where many global economies were headed towards a close recession. It was only after when lockdown restrictions eased worldwide that the economic situation began to improve.
One of the sectors that suffered a deadly blow was the shipping industry. Consumer demands dried worldwide and ports were the first to feel the crunch. With declining tonnage throughout 2020, compared to 2019 levels, the only ports that benefited were transshipment hubs like Panama, where ships had to stop over when the US declared a complete lockdown.
Ever since consumer demands began picking up to pre-pandemic levels before Christmas last year, the port sector has seen significant changes. Now, American ports, being backed by considerable investments are eying for the future. New container terminals are being built with private-sector partners, showing the way for construction companies worldwide.
“Ninety percent of everything” was how Rose George titled her 2013 book on the shipping industry. That is how important the world’s merchant fleet is to global trade. Yet when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, politicians the world over were seemingly unaware of the significance of cargo-ship crews’ work. Unlike cross-border lorry drivers, airline pilots, and cabin crew, seafarers were not designated as key workers – with tragic consequences for the sailors and their families in countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and India.
Stranded at sea
The travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world have made crew changes and repatriation of seafarers massively difficult. The result has been a humanitarian crisis of unheard-of proportions – and one made worse by a widespread lack of interest in the seafarers’ plight. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) estimates that around 400,000 seafarers were stranded on their ships in December 2020 – unable to make their way home and many months past the end of their original contracts. A similar number of seafarers were stuck at home, prevented from joining their ships and earning much-needed money to support their families in countries without welfare networks.
At the beginning of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed over two Million lives and continues to spread throughout the world. While the health crisis grew, the virus also infected economies and supply chains. Official statistics in developed countries such as Germany capture well the impact of lockdown measures on retail sales or disruption in global trade on national imports.
These official statistics, however, tend to be published with a time lag of several months and even longer for developing countries in the global South. To provide policymakers with more recent information on economic activity, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel) published the Corona Data Monitor in 2020 using unconventional, but high-frequent data. For instance, economist Vincent Stamer contributes to the data monitor by analyzing daily API data from FleetMon. Comparing historic ship activity in the Red Sea and the Suez Canal to today’s activity measures the impact of the Corona crisis on the key East Asia – Europe trade route. For more information, please visit the Corona Crisis Data Monitor on the website of the IfW Kiel.
In a recent study sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office, a project team of the Kiel Institute replicated the concept of the Data Monitor and applied it to various data sources on developing countries. To measure the impact of the pandemic on countries in the global South, the authors used data on nitrogen gas emissions, light emissions, and flight arrivals, as well as AIS data on container ships provided by FleetMon.
Each month, you get an update on how we extended our terrestrial AIS coverage worldwide. Become an AIS Partner to contribute to global maritime transparency. We announce the latest achievements of our AIS receiving station network.
New AIS stations and port coverage
Have a look at the new terrestrial AIS stations and port coverage we gained in the last quarter of 2020 until February 2021.
Researchers at ETH Zurich provide new insights on the emission reduction potential of shore-side electricity using AIS data from FleetMon.
The urgency for climate action expressed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) demands a rapid market uptake of CO2 reduction measures in all sectors. For international shipping, the European Commission has frequently emphasized the important role of providing shore-side electricity to ships at berth, being a rather simple way of reducing CO2 emissions of ships, but also due to considerable co-benefits: Local air pollution in sea ports is primarily caused by emissions of ships at berth and poses a severe threat for premature mortality on the local residents.