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Courtesy: Marine Insight
By Mohit | In: Know More | Last Updated on February 9, 2019

The rapid advancement of technology has significantly improved the methods of monitoring and tracking ships in the recent past. The fast-developing satellite services have enabled ship tracking across the globe easier now and thus ensuring the safety of vessels from various threats. From ship to land, there needs to be constant management of the various fleets. Using companies such as Lytx for land fleets can help businesses keep on top of efficiency when moving cargo.

With the help of satellite-based vessel monitoring systems (VMS), different types of vessels have been monitoring efficiently by marine agencies and vessel owners for a long period. The automatic identification system (AIS) helps track bigger vessels crossing waters across the world by offering real-time information about the vessels.

Currently, several websites provide ship tracking using the automatic identification system to display the real-time location of the ships. Real time technology has become an essential part of running a business in the modern world, but it is still a new concept to most people. Understandably, some of us are still confused about what it means, and how it can help improve shipping. Check out 3 Things People Get Wrong About Real-Time Applications for some more information about the misconceptions surrounding these websites.

With the help of transponders equipped on the vessels, the satellites will collect AIS signals from the vessels to provide its position, route, speed and ship’s type, among others through various online platforms. Moreover, with the introduction of Google Earth has revolutionized the ship tracking process, allowing access to each and every detail of almost all ships within seconds.

However, since there are various online services to provide vessel tracking information, the purpose of the content provided varies. It is important to note that ship tracking done through these online platforms is often meant for educational purpose.

Though most of these service providers promise a “real-time” location of the ships, the data displayed is always behind by a few minutes or even by several hours. Thus, this information should NEVER be used for navigation purpose.

Here we have a list of a few prominent websites which are widely used for near-accurate online ship tracking. These vessel trackers provide not only the ship’s location, but also technical and non-technical details, designated routes, and even photographs.

Notable Websites Used for Accurate Ship Tracking

1. Marine-Traffic

Marine-Traffic, one of the most famous and widely used online ship tracking systems, offers real-time data of ships along with advanced search features. It offers vessel owners with a number of services including satellite AIS coverage, enhanced satellite tracking, advanced density maps, and nautical charts etc.

Apart from tracking ships, Marine-Traffic also allows the tracking of various Ports around the world. The AIS system of the website boasts of a massive database of ships of every type. According to Marine-Traffic, it records at least 800 million vessel positions as well as 18 million vessel and port-related events monthly and offers information about 650000 marine assets such as vessels, ports, and lights etc.

This open, community-based project offers a number of services for free of cost, while more advanced functions come with a fee. According to the website, it operates more than 2, 000 AIS stations located in over 165 countries and has over 600, 000 registered users and around 20 million visits to its website every month.

2. FleetMon

FleetMon, another open database of ships and ports across the world, offers real-time AIS position data of ships, along with technical information on over 500000 vessels. It provides the particulars of the vessel, schedules and port arrivals, trading patterns and photos according to the customer’s search.

Using its interactive tool named FleetMon Explorer, you can see a real-time view of the marine traffic and access information on operations monitoring, logistics scheduling, fleet tracking, and traffic analysis etc. Established in 2007, FleetMon currently has customers across 164 countries. Fleet Mon is one of the finest ship tracking services which also offers iPhone and iPad apps.

3. Shipfinder

This is another widely used ship tracking service online which allows vessel search through various options such as ship number, tonnage, and capacity, ownership, construction etc.

This online service collects AIS ship feeds used by vessels over 300 tonnes, passenger vessels and small vessels like yachts to provide real-time information to its customers. It also keeps a track of the search history of the users to provide better user experience and offers premium paid membership for advanced users.

4. VesselFinder

Established in 2011, VesselFinder offers real-time data on more than 100,000 vessels on a daily basis with the help of a large network of terrestrial AIS receivers.

Offering services across digital, social and mobile platforms, VesselFinder offers efficient monitoring services, port calls, and master data and a detailed voyage history of each ship. In addition, it also provides historical AIS Data services that deliver customized ship movements reports, analysis of traffic density and video simulation of vessel movements, among others.

5. Vesseltracker

With the database of more than 1,000,000 vessels, Vesseltracker provides customized both real-time and historical data on vessels voyaging across the world. It will help users monitor vessels with the help of map views and layers including google satellite, google earth and nautical charts etc.

The website has a huge database that consists of updated vessel specifications, characteristics, ownership and management information etc. In addition, Vesseltracker offers analytics and reports on vessel movements and port events.

6. VT Explorer

VT Explorer offers its users with the real-time AIS position data and technical information of more than 100,000ships every day. Apart from the required information, the website also provides images of all the vessels being tracked by. Available to use from both your personal computer and mobile, VT Explorer helps monitor ship schedules and arrivals to analyze the trading patterns.

7. myshiptracking

myshiptracking is another advanced website that provides real-time positions of vessels around the world. With its large database, myshiptracking allows users to monitor vessels and ports efficiently to analyze the marine traffic across the world. The website also allows you to save our browsing data and also offers its service to iPhone and Android users through mobile apps.

8. Cruisemapper

Unlike other online vessel monitoring websites, CruiseMapper offers information on positions and schedules of various cruise ships serving tourists across the world. With its Cruise ships and ports database, the website provides information on features and technical specifications of each cruise and information for major ports that house the cruise ships. Those who are keen to book themselves on a cruise ship adventure in the near future may want to take a look at this website to see some of the top destinations and itineraries around the world. From Europe to Africa, and even Antarctica, the experiences that you can expect to have quite literally span the globe in terms of their scope.

Over to you..

Do you know any other important ship tracking service that should be added to the list?

Let’s know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with any website mention above. The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

The article or images cannot be reproduced, copied, shared or used in any form without the permission of the author and Marine Insight.

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Upcoming articles in this blog will include information about AIS (Automatic Identification System), VDES (VHF Data Exchange System), AIS Transponders / Transceivers, AIS Class A, AIS Class B, AIS Base Stations, AIS AtoN (Aids to Navigation), AIS SART (Search and Rescue Transmitter), Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS), AIS Satellite, Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), Digital Selective Calling (DSC), Marine VHF Radio, Homeland Security, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), cargo payload, draught, capacity utilisation, maritime big data, bulk shipping, line-up reports, trade flow, commodity, satellite, naval architecture, fishing, sar, security, synthetic aperture radar, visible infrared imaging radiometer suite (viirs), vessel tracking, ship tracking, communication and other related issues.

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