“Dark” vessel activity is becoming an increasingly common practice, where vessels turn off their AIS transponders or cooperative beacons to engage in illegal activities and evade authorities. As such, dark vessel detection has become increasingly important to pinpoint vessels that are up to nefarious activities, such as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing among other maritime safety and security concerns.
While bad intentioned vessel crews may think they can go undetected, if they still have their S-band or X-band marine radar on, satellite radio frequency (RF) can be used to enhance existing AIS services and enable reliable detection from space.
In addition to dark vessel detection, UnseenLabs’ dedicated, state-of-the art satellite constellation can assist in many maritime security related applications, including trade sanctions compliance, counter piracy and human/drug trafficking just to name a few. Using its proprietary, on-board RF technology based on the identification of electromagnetic waves emitted by ships, UnseenLabs is able to geolocate any vessel at sea from space, in near-real time and regardless of weather conditions to within a kilometer, from a single nanosatellite.
With the advent of this commercially available RF detection technology, it is now more difficult for dark vessels to hide themselves in the high seas or even among the high-density areas of the world, such as the South China Sea, where the large volume of AIS transmissions and VHF interferers can make satellite AIS detection more challenging.
ORBCOMM remains committed to supporting these maritime domain awareness missions by providing the widest sourced AIS data set and seeking any other alternative data services, such as RF, which can assist in illuminating activity on illegal fishing and other nefarious activities on our oceans and waterways. We look forward to working with UnseenLabs to bring this innovative dark vessel detection technology to our maritime partners and customers.