All Oiled Up… And Nowhere to Go

SkyTruth has been doing a lot of work recently on the problem of tracking vessels way out in the ocean, and figuring out what they’re doing.  A useful level of “maritime domain awareness” is key to effectively managing marine protected areas, enforcing fisheries laws to reduce the global scourge of illegal fishing, and mitigating pollution and other health and environmental impacts of the inexorable increase in vessel traffic everywhere. Sometimes we see interesting things going on out in the ocean…

Yesterday an article in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye, about an oil tanker full of crude from Kurdistan that has been wandering around in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean in search of a buyer.  Back in June they almost had a deal, but it fell through.  I thought you’d like to see what the tracking data look like for this vessel’s peregrinations.  Bjorn, our vessel-tracking expert, prepared these maps using satellite-collected AIS radio-frequency data that tankers are required, by international maritime law, to broadcast.

I hope this tanker finds a safe port soon to offload this potentially dangerous cargo.

90-day AIS track (red dots) for oil tanker United Leadership, as of July 22. Image Credit © exactEarth


Detail from above. Image Credit © exactEarth


Detail showing attempted port call in Morocco on July 3 (not June 3, as indicated by the Wall Street Journal), followed by “holding pattern” offshore as the United Leadership operators  ponder their next move.  Image Credit © exactEarth