2021 May 4, 9:17am
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Tankers, and in fact all ships, are mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to use Automatic Identification Systems, or AIS, which provides information about the ship to other vessels and to coastal authorities. Rogue vessels often operate with their AIS — and any other tracking systems — switched off. When AIS is not able to supply enough knowledge, other data sources are critical for developing comprehensive maritime awareness. This is where satellite technology comes in.The most popular form of satellite technology for tracking dark ships so far has been optical imagery. However, recent commercial innovations in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors and new technologies like space-based radio frequency (RF) mapping have added new dimensions to maritime monitoring.