Data analytics company, Windward has published a report on maritime data, which highlights the rise in prevalence of data manipulation and vessel identity fraud.

The report, entitled ‘AIS Data on the High Seas: An Analysis of the Magnitude and Implications of Growing Data Manipulation at Sea’, claims AIS data is being distorted and misused by the maritime fleet and those who would target the fleet.

“Global seaborne trade touches nearly every aspect of our lives, with 90 per cent of the world’s trade and most of our commodities transported by sea. And yet, the oceans remain one of the last Wild West frontiers, as this report shows that the data available on what’s happening at sea is increasingly unreliable and manipulated,” explained Ami Daniel, co-founder and CEO of Windward. “Using this data as-is is a dangerous, and costly, game of chance. With so much at stake, Windward is at the forefront of providing technology that reveals what's truly at sea.”



The report identified five key findings:

•    There has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of vessels using false identities across the maritime fleet.
•    Only 41 per cent of voyages have their final ports of call recorded.
•    Since 2012 there has been a 59 per cent increase in the number of vessels transmitting incorrect positioning information.
•    Twenty-seven per cent of vessels fail to transmit any data for at least a tenth of their operational time.
•    AIS spoofing – creating phantom AIS profiles – is on the rise.

Speaking to The Superyacht Report earlier this year Captain Fernando Vallmitjana, of Tales, had also highlighted a superyacht-specific problem created by AIS transmissions. “The ship agents are using this information to make money”, he explained. “The paparazzi can track the vessel at 30-second updates.”

However, in response to these comments MarineTraffic.com’s founder, Dr Dimitris Lekkas, said, “I do not believe that the presence of AIS on board superyachts has any security implications in addition to the threats that a yacht faces anyway. Any vessel of that size [would be] easily spotted by any interested party well before the introduction of AIS.”