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Spire Launches ‘Dark Shipping’ and ‘Spoofing’ Detection

Mike Schuler
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November 10, 2022

Space-based data company Spire Global (NYSE: SPIR) has launched what it describes as a dark shipping detection product to track vessels manipulating their position data in order to conceal nefarious activities such as evading sanctions, illegal fishing and human trafficking.

Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic system used in shipping that helps avoid collisions at sea, track global shipping trends and monitor individual vessel activity. But in some cases, crew members manipulate the system by turning off the transponder to “go dark” or ‘spoofing’ the AIS to report false positions, typically when engaging in illegal activity or practices, such as illegal trading, loading or unloading sanctioned goods, or illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Spire says the new dark shipping detection solution taps into the company’s constellation of more than 100 satellites to provide near real-time global AIS message position validation to uncover suspicious activity and pinpoint a vessel without the need for an approximate location.

“For a long time, having the tools to accurately identify and track ships that are attempting to hide their activities or location has been the missing key to preventing sanctions evasion, illegal fishing, human trafficking and many more pressing societal issues,” said Peter Mabson, CEO, Spire Maritime. “Dark shipping detection builds on our breadth of maritime tracking solutions and underscores Spire’s mission to use data that can only be collected from space to improve life on Earth.”

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