Vessel management and tracking systems

innovative security technology for maritime domain awareness and fleet management

In the range of vessel management and tracking systems a new product has been available for some time past which improves the world of artisanal fishing with intelligent technology and takes into account the ever-expanding safety considerations of the authorities at one go.

Safety has become an important factor, especially for authorities and governments. Thus it is important to know what is happening off the coast of a country – at best in real-time in order to be able to act as quickly as possible in an emergency.

Especially in developing and threshold countries in South America, Africa and Asia artisanal fishing is often the only kind of work and source of income for people in the vicinity of the coast. With regard to increasing terrorist potential and for this reason advancing safety requirements of authorities a conflict emerges. On the one hand the fishermen are required to upgrade their ships with the corresponding equipment on the other hand these fishermen, who are living at the poverty level, often cannot afford such equipment. As a result they end up doing the fishing illegally and are more prone to being involved in criminal activity. The vmsTRACK is a very cost-effective solution to this problem.

The bomb attacks against U.S.S. Cole and the hotel in Mumbai have shown the importance of security along the coastline. In both cases the attacks have been carried out using small crafts which have circumvented the existing safety measures without any difficulties.

vmsTRACK combines wishes and needs

Artisanal fishermen have a need for safety. They need a system to be able to transmit a distress signal if necessary. Homeland & Maritime Security for instance demands a possibility to monitor and track all these small objects.

The vmsTRACK helps to bring fishing vessels and leisure crafts into a national Maritime Domain Awareness network and is a unique tracking solution for vessels with and without power supply on board. The device is designed by experienced engineers and is “made in Germany”!

The portable position transmitter has a built-in GPS receiver. The device can work on programmable frequencies of the marine band according to the respective national requirements and provisions which allows only a “closed user group”, e. g. authorities, to access the data. Furthermore these transmitted radio telegrams can be encrypted if required. This is to avoid that the used frequency is systematically searched and found to eavesdrop signals.

Everyone can make an emergency call if in distress

Every vmsTRACK has an “alert button” to transmit an alert message which complies with the standard of the International Convention SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) of professional shipping. This means that any vessel which receives this alert message within transmitter range can go to the aid and initialize the rescue.

The vmsTRACK is floatable and 10 meters waterproof (IP68). The transmission range of the vmsTRACK amounts to up to 24 nautical miles depending on the respective weather conditions, but even under bad conditions approximately 10 nautical miles can be achieved.

Individual & intelligent

Every single vmsTRACK device has an individual ID-number and may be personalized on the spot with additional data like name of the ship’s master, name of the ship, operational area, etc. via software.

The power supply of the vmsTRACK is a durable rechargeable battery. The device is charged with a charging station, which is connected to the on-board power supply or to the electrical grid. As a result artisanal fishermen without power supply on board can use this device as well. The internal rechargeable battery has an operating time of up to 6 days.

The fixing solution of the vmsTRACK, which cannot be removed from the vessel without being destroyed, is on request equipped with an additional intelligent anti-theft device. A cyclic and encrypted data interchange, meeting the highest standard, occurs between the fixing solution and the active device. If the vmsTRACK is removed from its fixing solution while transmitting the device immediately gives an alert via radio that the device has been stolen. This in turn eliminates the possibility to remove the device from the vessel to use it for criminal activities.

Geofencing inside

The device is ready for Geofencing. Coastlines, for example, can be stored in the device as coordinate collections. When entering or leaving a defined area the authorities receive a corresponding message. If an artisanal fisherman leaves e. g. the 12 mile zone of the country or is not traveling in his regular territory the receiving stations are informed about this via radio telegram.

Why is vmsTRACK the solution?

The use of the AIS system (Automatic Identification System) Class A has been mandatory for global professional shipping of a size of 300 BRT for many years now. This system helps to transmit and exchange all pertinent vessel characteristics such as course and speed over ground, name of the ship, port of origin, port of destination, size, type of cargo etc. between the ships within transmission range to detect potential dangers for collision and to give aid to navigation. As you can see the determination of positions in this example is very simple and as was intended. To include small crafts into this system each of these ships would have to be equipped with an AIS transceiver. This, however, would have several major disadvantages: On the one hand theses standard AIS transceivers are of no interest for small crafts due to its costs. The installation effort on board is huge and requires a permanent power supply on board. Moreover, due to the great number of smaller ships in coastal metropolitan areas the international AIS network would be overloaded in these areas.

By using the national, proprietary frequencies and the possibility that many smaller users can transmit on these particular frequencies, the standard AIS radio traffic of professional shipping is not used – unless an emergency message is sent.

Alternative “satellite positioning” is very expensive and the long update intervals, which lead to a severe time lag of the position report, are out of question for an effective security solution.

A company with great experience

The German Weatherdock AG is the European market leader in AIS Class B solutions and its products are increasingly used in professional shipping. Weatherdock’s AIS Search and Rescue Transmitter (AIS S.A.R.T.) “easyRESCUE” has won the SEGELN Award 2012 in the category “SAFETY”.

By means of the market success and the corporation with the Indian company ELEKTRONIK LAB there is a bundle of great experience in suitable VMS products. Our products are exclusively manufactured in Germany.