System Overview from US Coast Guard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
June 17, 2012: An official from Google recently announced at a defense technology conference that his firm would soon roll out a feature that would allow any Internet user to track all ships at sea, including U.S. Navy warships, in real time. The Google official was angry that the navy itself did not have this capability. This shocked many in the audience and later embarrassed the Google official. Turns out that the navy has had this tracking capability since the 1980s, when it began equipping its ships with AIS (Automatic Identification System) transmitters that all large ships are required to carry in order to qualify for insurance.
For more than a decade satellites have been used to more rapidly collect and distribute the AIS transmissions, making it easier for these large ships to be tracked. Shipping companies are the main users of this information. The U.S. Navy has used the AIS monitoring system since the 1980s.
The navy, however, can turn off certain AIS information as needed. For example, the warships can only transmit location but not name of the ship. This tells mariners and others (like Google users and Somali pirates) with access to AIS information that a large ship is at a certain location. The U.S. Navy sometimes has its ships turn off AIS altogether. Naturally, smaller, uninsured ships do not carry AIS and are more likely to be carrying illegal cargo. Smugglers with AIS can turn it off, although that can also raises suspicions if someone notes that AIS signal being turned off. The U.S. Navy will not discuss its capabilities to use AIS for deception.
Posted in Middle East, Piracy on the Sea, Reports, Security, Somalia, Technology, US, War & Conflicts
- Tagged AIS, Automatic Identification System, Google, Piracy in Somalia, U.S. Navy, United States, United States Coast Guard, United States Navy
High Profile Pirate Leader Garaad Captured In The Operation
XIANG HUA MEN, Panamana-Flagged Cargo Vessel Hijacked on April 06, 2012
Just hours after Panama-flagged cargo ship XIANG HUA MEN was hijacked by pirates 14 nautical miles off the Iranian coast, Iranian commandos stormed the vessel, rescuing the 28 Chinese crewmembers and capturing the nine pirates on board.
Two Iranian naval vessels approached the ship, following which the pirates threw their weapons overboard. Xinhua news agency reported that the Chinese embassy in Iran had requested that Iran intervene militarily to free the vessel.
“The Chinese embassy… immediately established contact with relevant Iranian authorities demanding (that) Iran adopt all necessary measures to fully rescue the ship and crew,” Xinhua reported.
Somalia Report can confirm that Garaad, a well-known pirate based out of Puntland was one of the nine pirates arrested. Somalia Report spoke with Garaad’s cousin this morning, who stated that Garaad was one of the nine pirates arrested. Garaad was responsible for the Blida hijack, which was subsequently released for $3.5 million. His gang has come under pressure from Puntland security forces recently: in February, a number of his colleagues were arrested, and the authorities burned two of their speedboats.
Posted in Africa, Military, Piracy on the Sea, Reports, Security, Somalia
- Tagged Harardhere, Iran, Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, Nanjing, Piracy in Somalia, Puntland, Somalia, Somalia Report