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Can vessels try to hide their identity?

Can vessels try to hide their identity?
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Most large fishing vessels are assigned a unique Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, but in practice some vessels use a number that is not assigned to them, a practice that we refer to as ‘identity spoofing’ — either a false number (like 123456789) or the number of another vessel. This means that, throughout the ocean, multiple vessels are simultaneously broadcasting the same MMSI number making them indistinguishable from one another without closer inspection.

Our machine-learning algorithms automatically separate signals coming from multiple vessels using the same MMSI and also detect when the broadcast location is inconsistent with the location of the satellite that received the signal. We can’t always determine the true identity of the spoofing vessel, but our algorithms can still detect the vessel’s behaviour and put it on a map.

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