Dark ships are faking locations to transport the forbidden– ‘goods’ around the world that are likely worth billions of dollars using Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).
Why dark? What do they trade for fake locations?
They’re called dark for the unethical activities they perform. They are usually used to transport oil, but also, they can be used to transport grain, coal, and minerals. Also, illegal goods such as drugs and weapons.
The ‘big guys’ in recent years have been used to transport Russian oil to evade Western sanctions, as well as transporting the oil from Venezuela, which is also subject to sanctions.
The BIG Guys!
I’ve named them the ‘big guys’ not out of coincidence, they’ve been really transporting dark stuff like weapons to various locations around the world.
- Russia to Syria in 2016: A Russian dark ship was caught shipping weapons to Syria, in violation of a UN arms restriction.
- Iran to Yemen: Iran was accused of transporting weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
- North Korea to various locations: Wait for this one, transferring to many locations including Libya, Syria, and Myanmar.
- Venezuela to Syria: In 2019, it was caught carrying weapons to Syria.
All kinds of strategic weapons are transported such as nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
It is difficult to track the dark ship’s movements, making it easier for them to transport weapons to other locations.
Dark ships are not the only method that are used to ILLEGALLY transport weapons, like commercial ships, private jets, and land transportation.
Data from maritime technology company Windward showed: A rise of 12% in location manipulation among oil tankers and ships carrying dry cargo such as grain for the first half of 2023 when compared to the same period last year, and an 82% increase on the first half of 2021. – CNBCreported.
Satellite Technology to the rescue.
As technology has developed, it has become relatively easy to tell whether a ship has turned off its automatic identification systems (AIS), according to Iain Goodridge, Spire’s senior director of radio frequency geolocation products. Satellite technology is a valuable tool for dark ship detection and tackling illegal activities such as illegal fishing and drug trafficking.
“Hello, is anyone out there? … Can you hear me?”
Titanic’s famous messages questioning if somebody is out there to help them.
But the international community is here to save the day.
It has initiated measures to tackle the issue of untraceable vessels, including the implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Polar Code. This code delegates specific safety equipment, such as AIS transponders, for ships operating in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Even so, further action is necessary to prevent the use of dark vessels for the transportation of weapons and illegitimate load.
Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Tech sections to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.