Introducing ‘Lo-Jack’ For Ships

Friday, June 09, 2000
New Anti-Piracy Website Tracks Hijacked Vessels For Ship Owners

A successful anti-piracy tracking system supported by ICC's International Maritime Bureau (IMB) now has a dedicated website that demonstrates how ship owners can log-on and view the exact position of their vessels at any time.

Shiploc, an inexpensive tracking system, is based on a small device that reports to ship owners the position of their vessels via a satellite network several times a day. The launch of www.shiploc.com means that owners, armed with only an Internet connection and a confidential user name and password, can access data and maps online to check whether their ships are on course. If a ship is hijacked, the IMB, with authorization from the ship's owner, can check the ship's exact position and alert the appropriate law enforcement agencies immediately.

The number of piracy attacks worldwide increased by 50 percent between 1998 and 1999, and ship owners have become increasingly concerned for the safety of their cargos and their crews. Insurance companies have also had to pay out large sums to cover losses incurred via a rising number of ship hijackings.

Captain P.K. Mukundan, IMB Director, said the innovative tracking device had been in great demand since its launch last year, especially from fleets in the Far East and South East Asia, many of whom have been affected by hijackings.

"When a ship that is hijacked has no tracking device installed, underwriters have to offer very substantial rewards to anyone with information on the ship's position. No reward need be offered if the vessel is fitted with Shiploc. The device costs less than $300 dollars a month to install and run, including the cost of satellite emissions. It is far less expensive than any other anti-piracy tracking system currently on the market," said Captain Mukundan.

Shiploc is the result of close cooperation between the IMB and CLS, a world leading satellite tracking system operator. The device, which is about the size of a shoebox, can be easily concealed on a ship and, for their own safety, there is no need for crew members to be told of its existence or location. A back-up system ensures that the equipment continues to function even if the ship's power supply is cut.

The new Shiploc website is the latest example of how the Internet can be used to combat piracy. Last year IMB launched its weekly piracy report online, a compilation of daily satellite broadcasts issued by the bureau's Piracy Reporting Center in Kuala Lumpur. The reports detail the location and nature of attacks on shipping and allows companies to put their ship's masters on special alert when they are passing through waters in which recent piratical attacks have been reported.

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