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AIS Ship Tracking Data Shows False Vessel Tracks Circling Above Point Reyes, Near San Francisco

Analysis from SkyTruth and Global Fishing Watch shows ship tracks jumping thousands of miles from their true locations.

In December of 2019 SkyTruth reported on a number of locations on the Chinese coast (mostly oil terminals) where ship tracking positions from the automatic identification system (AIS) became scrambled as soon as ships approached within a few miles of a point on shore. Following the findings last year on the Chinese coast, analyst Bjorn Bergman began looking globally for any similar patterns in AIS tracking data around the world. While he hasn’t found the precise pattern observed at the Chinese oil terminals outside of China, he has found a somewhat different false AIS broadcast pattern which appears concentrated above Point Reyes northwest of San Francisco, California. Could this reflect an intentional disruption of the underlying global positioning system that AIS relies on, or is there some other explanation for this pattern?

Systematic GPS Manipulation Occuring at Chinese Oil Terminals and Government Installations

Analysis reveals precise location and timing of GPS interference but purpose remains unclear.

Last month, an article in MIT Technology Review described strange GPS anomalies in Shanghai. I began investigating, and have now found evidence of a novel form of GPS manipulation occurring at at least 20 sites on the Chinese coast during the past year.

Unusual Behavior by Tankers Near Brazil Oil Spill

The source of the massive oil spill affecting Brazil remains unclear, but unusual tanker activity raises questions.

For months now, oil has been washing up on the beaches of northeast Brazil. Government officials, scientists and non-governmental organizations around the world — including SkyTruth — have been trying to identify the source of the pollution; so far, unsuccessfully. SkyTruth analyst Bjorn Bergman recently decided to take a look at AIS ship-tracking data in the region and found some unusual behavior from oil tankers passing through the area.

New Milestones for Fisheries Transparency in Indonesia and Peru

Until recently public tracking of fishing activity has been almost entirely dependent on AIS (Automatic Identification System) data, an open system for vessel tracking and collision avoidance. It’s exciting to see this changing with the success of Global Fishing Watch’s Transparency Program. This program began when Indonesia’s fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti took the unprecedented step […]