Vessel Monitoring & Insight
OceanMind provides insight and analysis based on vessel monitoring data for all “at sea” vessel activities on a global scale by taking information from a wide variety of sources and correlating them with observations taken from satellites using photography and radar.
Using state-of-the-art technology that is embedded with machine learning, alongside our expert fisheries analysts, OceanMind provides actionable insight for a wide variety of clients and organisations interested in a more comprehensive understanding of vessel behaviour in their waters.
If you want to know about our vessel behaviour and insight work, please contact us.
Case Study: Chilean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
The Chilean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is vast, at just over 3.2m km2. In addition to the mainland EEZ lies Easter Island, – currently under a consultation process with the people of Rapa Nui to adopt an important Marine Protected Area, and the Desventuradas Islands, where the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park is a “no take zone” where fishing is prohibited.
The Chilean Government takes the monitoring of its coastal and maritime territories very seriously and the Directorate General of the Maritime Territory and the Merchant Marine of Chile (DIRECTEMAR – an organisation within the Chilean Navy) operates continuous patrols to safeguard Chile’s waters. To augment these monitoring activities, OceanMind, with its advanced maritime observation techniques, was approached to provide supplementary information and near-real time satellite data to help identify possible, covert instances of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing that may otherwise go undetected.
A comprehensive, historical compliance analysis of vessel activities was first conducted using a variety of monitoring capabilities and data sources including; satellite based Automatic Identification System (AIS), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery, Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and numerous other, appropriate data sources.
For the first layer of information, OceanMind’s analysts used VMS and AIS to identify vessels within the EEZ and check for compliance. This was then supplemented with SAR imagery to corroborate the accuracy of data transmitted by particular vessels of interest and uncover potential data anomalies, such as periods when a vessel’s transponder was switched off, or vessels were not transmitting on the AIS system. SAR was also used to help identify any further vessels operating on the high seas or inside the EEZ that were not on any tracking system available to Chilean authorities.
Each vessel detected against the radar signatures of likely fishing vessels in the region was analysed and corroborated against OceanMind’s vast bank of data sources. This enabled OceanMind’s expert fisheries analysts to identify with greater confidence likely ‘dark’, unlicensed and illegal activity. Bunker vessels and fish carrier vessels that operate transhipments often position themselves on the boundary of EEZs and identifying this activity often indicates further vessels engaging in IUU fishing that could otherwise not be identified.
All vessel tracks in and around the respective areas of interest were monitored for suspicious behaviour and compliance with Chile’s national fishing laws and regulations. Types of suspicious behaviour included possible transhipment, bunkering, and fishing activity within the heavily restricted areas of the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park and Easter Island. In addition, OceanMind’s analysts reviewed all vessels for fisheries compliance on the high seas, using licencing and other supplementary information available from the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) and Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), to ensure conformity with international regulations. ￼
One of the most significant identified threats to Chile’s EEZ was from foreign-flagged vessels. These vessels frequently fished close to the EEZ boundary and regularly showed gaps in their positional transmitters that may have allowed illegal fishing inside the EEZ. OceanMind also helped the Chilean Navy identify significant possible transhipment and bunkering activity near the EEZ that was indicative of other vessels operating in the area without transponders. This, combined with the detection of “dark” vessels inside the EEZ, demonstrated a high risk of illegal fishing taking place inside the zone. This knowledge enabled the Chilean Navy to prioritise its air and sea patrols in the areas with the greatest threat and identify the flag states of vessels with the highest risk of illegal activity for engagement and further investigation for enforcement.
OceanMind concluded that the risk of IUU fishing activity overall is high for the Desventuradas Islands and Chile EEZ, with significant evidence of dark vessels not transmitting via AIS inside the boundary.
With additional monitoring capabilities using satellite technology, DIRECTEMAR patrols are able to reach illegal fishing vessels more quickly and effectively, providing compelling evidence for prosecutions to take place.