Cant find what your looking for?

December 17, 2020 / Press Releases / Maritime

New Surveillance Technology to Detect Dark Ships in the Arctic

A new surveillance technology developed by the maritime analytics and data leader, GateHouse Maritime, in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark will help the Danish Defence monitor the Arctic Ocean. The technology is built to identify illegal ships without or turned off Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders or so-called dark ships.

The Arctic spans 14 million km2. Climate change continues to impact the Arctic area and it is expected that the maritime traffic will increase significantly over the coming 10 to 20 years. With the Arctic becoming more accessible the interests in the Arctic will increase. For this and other reasons, the Arctic is increasingly important for Greenland and for Denmark.

To exercise the Kingdom of Denmark’s sovereignty in the Arctic and to increase maritime security in the region, the Danish Ministry of Defence Aquisitions and Logistics Organisation has signed a new development contract with the maritime analytics and data company, GateHouse Maritime, and the Technical University of Denmark.

The project aims to develop a new surveillance technology that can detect and identify illegal ships without or turned off Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponders, better known as dark ships. The technology will combine SAR satellite pictures and AIS data to distinguish icebergs from ships. According to COO of GateHouse Maritime, Poul Bondo, GateHouse Group has a longstanding partnership with the Danish Defence, which they are now proud to expand to the maritime field:

Because of climate change, new sea routes are opening in the Arctic making it harder to exercise sovereignty in the region. This paves the way for illegal maritime traffic, e.g. trafficking of illegal arms, trading of sanctioned goods, and, especially, illegal fishing, which according to the World Wildlife Fund is a widespread problem in the Arctic, he says and adds:

By combining multiple data sources, the solution can under any weather conditions distinguish between ships and icebergs, therefore ultimately helping the national authorities differentiate between legal and illegal activity.

Henning Heiselberg, Head of Center for Security at the Technical University of Denmark adds
we are excited about this great opportunity to do extensive research and develop advanced technology including AI for satellite data analysis for our common good, and grateful for the project funding from the Danish Defence.

The Danish Defence has earmarked DKK 1.5 billion to support increased surveillance and communication in the region. This project is a great opportunity to use new research and development to support future activities in the Arctic areas.