In the age of ultrafast communication and GPS, it is hard to imagine that sailors once relied on the sky (i.e. constellations) to navigate their vessels in the high seas. However, not every sailor was a Viking, and this led to high chances of the ship landing somewhere it is not supposed to be (read: Christopher Columbus).
Fast forward to the 21st century, and we can do nothing but look back in awe at all the challenges sailors used to face back in the days. Since the 1990s, navigation in itself and shipping at large have undergone sea changes, thanks to the rampant evolution in AIS tech.
Now, humans have the rightful luxury of tracking their fleets on the seven seas with the help of a single click in real-time.
What was initially developed to function as a simple collision avoidance tool has now spiraled to form the heartbeat of global ship navigation? Yes, it is the Automatic Identification System (AIS) that we are talking about.
Currently, over half a million vessels actively use AIS for transmitting vessel data (mainly their location), which then gets collected by a receiver network deployed across the globe. FleetMon alone has a humongous database of over half a million vessels with users across 164 countries using FleetMon.com to track vessel movement.
Gone are the days when AIS used to be a tool for accident prevention. It is now a proven source of information for a wide variety of individuals ranging from maritime businesses that leverage its data to predict their growth, to researchers and analysts monitoring the supply chain.
As such, it is ever more important to know about AIS, at least the basics of it. The blog has been engineered for the same purpose, covering the 10 most important points about AIS and how you could benefit from it.
FleetMon is sponsoring and supporting the Academic Sailing Association in Rostock since December 2019. As part of the sponsorship, FleetMon provided the sailing club with a satellite tracker, twelve AIS rescue transmitters, and two additional AIS-compatible life jackets. In the event that a crew member goes overboard, the transmitters on the life jacket send out an AIS signal that is visible to all ships in the vicinity. This makes it much easier to find the person in the water. We have been passionately following the association’s activities around its youngest sailing boat UNIVERSITAS ever since.
Recently, the UNIVERSITAS crew participated in the Rund Bornholm race during the Warnemünder Woche from 3rd to 11th July 2021. The Warnemünder Woche is an international sailing event and folk festival in the Rostock Baltic Sea resort of Warnemünde. The nine-day regatta is held off the coast of Warnemünde and counts around 2,000 sailors from up to 48 nations annually. This makes it the third largest regatta event in Germany after the Kieler Woche (Kiel Week) and the Travemünder Woche (Travemünde Week). In addition, the Warnemünder Woche is also a major cultural event, with numerous concerts and an extensive supporting program.
The 2021 edition of the long-distance regatta “Rund Bornholm” was characterized by light winds, which were quite challenging for the participants. A total of 35 yachts were at the start. The UNIVERSITAS crew kindly provided us with an experience report summarizing their impressions of the “Rund Bornholm” race.
The increase in customs value in Isreal, due to the increase in transport prices – the problem, and the way to the solution
Read an opinion piece by Advocate Omer Wagner from Isreal:
The author is employed in the indirect taxation department at PWC Israel, Kesselman&Kesselman, and is an attorney specializing in customs law, purchase tax, indirect taxation, import, export, regulation, trade levies, international trade; What is said in the article reflects the opinion of the author only, and should not be considered as giving a legal opinion.
Have you recently tried to buy a computer, Peloton exercise bike or new furniture? If so, you may well have experienced an unexpectedly delayed delivery. You’d be in the same boat as millions of other consumers and corporate buyers in the western world. Though your order may have been stuck in one of the many thousands of containers on the Ever Given, the ship held up in the Suez Canal for months, the most likely reason for delayed deliveries is the global shortage of containers. The metal boxes that make global trade possible are in very short supply – with a domino effect on supply chains worldwide. And it all began with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each month, we announce an update on how we extended our terrestrial AIS coverage worldwide. Become an AIS Partner and contribute to Global Maritime Transparency. Please have a look at our latest achievements in terms of FleetMon’s AIS receiving station network.
In 2021, we started to put the spotlight on our passionate ship spotters. Each month, we introduce another ship spotter of FleetMon.com. In June, you’ll meet ship spotter Phil (User name: gibbogibbo), a truck driver and loyal FleetMon user from the United Kingdom.
What is your maritime background?
I am 60 years old and a truck driver for a well-known supermarket chain. I live in Greater Manchester in the northwest of England. My father was born and brought up in Fleetwood which was a very busy fishing port in years gone by so as a youngster I spent a lot of time in and around the docks watching the fishing fleet departing and returning. I have always had an interest in all things relating to the sea.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the question of who is and isn’t designated a “key worker” has been a difficult debate, with many arguing that essential services go far, far beyond those provided by doctors and nurses. Although the UK government now officially recognizes seafarers as key workers, it’s arguable that the general public has little idea of the contributions made by these workers to the ongoing maintenance of the supply chain.
They can be found on rocky cliffs or sandy shoals on land, on wave-swept reefs in the sea, and at entrances to harbors and bays. Lighthouses serve to warn mariners of dangerous shallows and perilous rocky coasts, and they help guide vessels safely into and out of harbors.
Welcome to the fourth edition of the FleetMon Maritime Gallery. Each month, you’ll find a special section on our blog featuring the Best Maritime Photos in a certain category. You’ll not only get to view the most popular photos being voted by our community for “Photo of the Week” and “Photo of the Month”. We also present special shots which are less popular but in the same way extraordinary.
Navigation in itself is a multi-century old phenomenon, which has been there since mankind discovered what they could do with a piece of wood. However, modern ship navigation has experienced a lot of changes, and subsequent ‘rebirths’, over the last couple of decades.
One such year of rebirth was 1952: For the very first time, vessel routing services got introduced into the industry. 1952 is when vessels were retrofitted with a prototype that would later evolve into the Automatic Identification System (AIS) in the late 90s, something that ushered a new era in maritime navigation so to speak.
AIS data, when clubbed together, gives us all-around insights into the vessel involved, its speed, position, ship dimensions, as well as its draft, helping us identify when the ship was loaded or unloaded with its designated cargo. However, the last point is an application of various data points obtained via AIS, and not available via raw data obtained from the systems onboard.
AIS, as stated above, was originally meant for ensuring navigational safety, but has quickly proved to be a vital source of business intelligence for maritime personnel.
We support students and researchers by offering access to the FleetMon API Suite and our extensive AIS Data Archive with historical vessel position and port call data. Read this guest article we received by Niklas Scherer, a master’s degree student of the University of Applied Sciences in Bingen, Germany.
The academic project investigates a correlation between specific weather conditions a vessel was exposed to and occurring cargo damage. AIS data and weather data were used to examine if certain weather conditions on maritime high-traffic lanes are likely to cause damage to freight in order to prevent damage by realistic forecasting.