Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Genscape Vesseltracker™ Continues AIS Antenna Network Expansion in U.S. Gulf of Mexico & Asia


In recent months, Genscape Vesseltracker has continued expanding its AIS antenna network in key locations in the Gulf of Mexico (the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area) and Asia (Taiwan and the Philippines). The near-real-time vessel information in the new AIS antenna coverage region opens up a wealth of possibilities for traders, terminal operators, ferry operators, and other maritime professionals that go far beyond AIS’ original goal of simply helping avoid ship collisions.
Here are some examples showing what is possible in the new coverage areas:
U.S. Gulf of Mexico

Genscape Vesseltracker now has full AIS antenna coverage of the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area (GOLA). Located approximately 40-70 nautical miles (75-130 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, TX, it is a key area for lightering (i.e. transferring oil cargo between larger, ocean-going vessels and smaller, coastal vessels) and bunkering along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Genscape Vesseltracker Cockpit view of the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area
Genscape Vesseltracker’s Cockpit tool view of the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area highlighted in the red box. Click to enlarge

The new AIS antenna coverage gives traders and analysts incredibly granular, near-real-time detail as they investigate commodity transfers in the GOLA. This AIS data also helps power Genscape’s BunkerPeriscope, which uses AIS and other data sources to provide an unprecedented view into local bunkering activities.
As part of a country-wide expansion in Taiwan, Genscape Vesseltracker has installed new antennas in the ports of Mailiao, Taichung, Bali, Tamsui, Su’ao, and Hualien, which are supplemented by existing antenna coverage in Kaohsiung, Tainan, and Keelung. AIS antennas are particularly important in this region, because AIS satellites often miss data as they cannot process all of the information they receive from the busy shipping lanes of the South China Sea.

Genscape Vesseltracker antenna locations in Taiwan
Genscape Vesseltracker's antenna locations across Taiwan. Click to enlarge

As one of the original “Asian Tiger” economies, Taiwan is a major exporter of electronics, machinery, and petrochemicals, with extensive seaports in Keelung, Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung, the country’s largest container port. AIS antenna coverage of Kaohsiung allows terminal operators and shipping lines to see up-to-the minute vessel arrivals and departures, and even set up automated notification systems to shave valuable minutes off of berth times.

Genscape Vesseltracker Cockpit view of Taiwan Port
Genscape Vesseltracker’s Cockpit tool allows users to receive more information on the vessels that are currently in the Port of Koahsiung. Click to enlarge
Due south of Taiwan lies the Philippines, where Genscape Vesseltracker is also in the middle of a major AIS antenna network expansion. While there has been long-term coverage of major ports such as Manila, Subic Bay and Cebu, in recent months we have added new coverage in the following ports:
  • Luzon Island: Batangas and Legazpi
  • Mindoro: Calapan
  • Panay Island: Caticlan and Iloilo
  • Negros Occidental: Bacolod and San Carlos
  • Central Visayas: Cebu and Tagbilaran
The new AIS antenna coverage is especially useful for the ferry industry, which is crucial for transport throughout the island country. In the past, ferries in the Philippines were plagued by fatal accidents caused by a combination of overloading or improper weight distribution, and sudden, severe storms. This resulted in several high-profile capsizing incidents where hundreds of ferry passengers lost their lives.
However, the Filipino ferry industry is now fighting back, using a mixed toolkit of better crew training, improved procedural awareness, and new technology such as AIS. Using Vesseltracker’s Cockpit View, for example, operations teams can understand how other vessels are reacting to certain weather conditions and decide to cancel a trip or turn back if they judge the situation to be too dangerous, and search-and-rescue (SAR) teams and nearby vessels can assist vessels in distress.

Genscape Vesseltracker Cockpit tool
Genscape Vesseltracker’s Cockpit tool shows how between Bantangas and Calapan, a highly saturated ferry area, the ferry “Starlite Archer” is following “Fast Cat M1” and ferry “MV Maria Natasha” is following “FastCat M5.” Click to enlarge

If you are interested in becoming our Antenna Partner, please let us know. Genscape Vesseltracker’s Antenna Partners receive full access to all AIS antenna data and information from our ship database, including vessel owners and managers, and technical specifications. We are always working to expand our network, so if you are interested in becoming a Genscape Vesseltracker antenna partner, please contact us

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