Managing the UK’s coastal and offshore waters and ports with maritime vessel detection and behavioural analysis
The make-up of the UK’s waters, its bordering nations and others who utilise the resource, together hold a complex and inter-connected set of needs. These needs are often at tension with one another, so as competition increases, may require overarching and bilateral management.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is itself a complex subject. Within the maritime environment there are various systems designed to allow a vessel to make known its location, destination and other parameters. Monitoring of IUU fishing requires a variety of data sources to detect vessels in protected and licensed areas, account for cooperative vessels and hone in on uncooperative vessels.
Traditional VHF Automatic Identification System (AIS), marine coastal radar, vessel or shoreline reporting, and aerial imaging alone are insufficient and ineffective in managing vast areas of ocean. Correlating satellite imaging and satellite AIS, and further combining the resultant detections with behavioural analysis, fills the gap left by patrols and ground-based systems. This disrupts uncooperative behaviours of the vessels’ owners and provides evidential records for prosecutions where the behaviours of uncooperative vessels persist.
In this application domain, Telespazio VEGA UK1 and e-GEOS2 have considerable combined experience and their proprietary technology provides a well-trodden and robust modular Maritime Surveillance Platform – SEonSE (Smart Eyes on the Seas).
SEonSE supports the detection of vessels with failed or malfunctioning GPS and/or transmitting equipment; vessels that deliberately deactivate their AIS to avoid detection; vessels that, because of their smaller size, are not under the obligation of having an on-board positioning system; as well as sport fishing vessels.
The platform also identifies abnormal behaviours, such as trawlers in forbidden areas; vessels in environmental protected zones; ships stationary in unusual locations; and ships sharing an unusually proximal location to one another.
Furthermore, SEonSE can identify oil spills and their characteristics; relevant met-ocean information; and correlate these to obtain with high confidence the vessel and/or platform polluters.
The operational use of satellite-derived analytics for maritime applications allows worldwide ocean and sea monitoring, irrespective of whether the area is within the range of coastal surveillance systems; the behaviour of ships is cooperative or uncooperative; and the time of day.
Where detections and behavioural analysis is required in near real-time (NRT), it is possible to utilise ground-station antenna to receive, downlink and process satellite imagery at local processing environments in the form of a Cosmo Customer User Terminal (CUT). The Cosmo CUT provides direct reception of imagery from the COSMO-SkyMed constellation and the COSMO central archives located in Matera.
In a Cosmo CUT environment, SEonSE detections and behavioural analysis may provide rapidly distributed notifications, with specific situational awareness calls-to-action, to multiple stakeholders. This NRT processing environment facilitates a greater number of interceptions and prosecutions, acting as a potent discouraging measure.
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1 Telespazio VEGA is a 67/33% joint venture between Leonardo and Thales.
2 e-GEOS is a joint venture between Telespazio 80% and Italian Space Agency – ASI 20%.