Member Corner

ISI and E-geos detect and track ‘dark ships’

ISI (ImageSat International) and WGIC member e-GEOS/ Telespazio are introducing a SAR-EO Maritime Surveillance service offering, leveraging the Electro Optical-SAR earth observation satellite constellation.

Remco Takken October 12, 2021

The SAR-EO “Tip & Cue” solution was developed as part of the strategic alliance formed by the two companies. Herewith, they are recognizing a global need for enhancing maritime awareness capabilities by dark ship detection and tracking capabilities across various operational needs and use cases. Among these are Naval MDA, Counter IUU activities, Illegal Oil smuggling, human trafficking, pollution control and numerous other applications. COSMO-SkyMed and COSMO-SkyMed Second Generationm detect any ship over a broad area, at any weather conditions. Together, they provide on-going coverage at high revisit. Furthermore, the ability of the EROS NG visually identifies any ship by using it’s 30 centimeter resolution imagery. With its high revisit and diverse imaging times, the system boasts a rapid tasking capability.

Automatic detection process of correlation

Dark ships are vessels that do not activate AIS transition. A SAR acquisition collected, downloaded and automatically analyzed in near-real time detects all ships within the covered area. Dark ship detection takes place through an automatic process of correlation between the detected ships positions with reported AIS data. Following that Rapid Tasking of high resolution Electro-Optical (EO) satellites is executed based on the detected dark ships position. In order to engage moving ships in open water a proprietary AI based behavior prediction application is tasking the satellites to the predicted future position of the moving ships, at the exact time when the satellite is passing over the surveyed area. Once collected, the high resolution imagery is downloaded and automatically analyzed in near real-time, the detected ships are cross checked with the SAR data, AIS and other intelligence sources and reported to the end-user.  

Joint constellation set-up

Both companies are now offering, to current and future customers for maritime, as well as countless other time-sensitive applications, multi-sensor tipping and cueing services by their joint constellation. This is presently comprised out of 8 ultra-high performance satellites data. Firstly these include ISI three EROS Next Generation Electro Optical ultra high resolution satellites. Secondly, there are five COSMO-SkyMed and COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation SAR satellites – owned by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the Italian Ministry of Defence. For these e-GEOS is the exclusive global distributor. The partners have integrated this capability into their Space-based Maritime Surveillance system. This means that the service is available for customers through e-GEOS SEonSE system and though ISI Kingfisher system.