Vessel tracking system
Fleet Automation Services Pte Ltd (‘Fleet Automation’) is a marine automation company based in the Singapore. Since it was founded in 2003, the company has provided a high-quality range of products and services to many companies, predominantly in South-East Asia.
Fleet Automation undertook the research and development of solar powered tracking 1 year ago to deliver a product capable of ship-shore transmission successfully. Many of our clients were dealing in shipments transversing the Straits of Malacca where piracy is rampant. With the amount of piracy attacks reaching alarming levels in the Straits of Malacca that has affected many owners/charterers, it immediately became the top priority for Fleet Automation to address this issue. As no such device existed in the market then to monitor the movements of unpowered barges, Fleet Automation undertook this task of developing a product to meet this requirement for this ‘niche’ market and subsequently developed ‘BargeTrak’.
Today, Fleet Automation is able to track vessels, both powered tugs and unpowered barges, at any point throughout the world. Clients can now rely on our ‘BargeTrak’ device such as this to track their barges. This device operates very well in tropical areas such as Singapore where sunlight is abundant. More often than not, this device serves more than just a safety ‘anti-piracy’ device but also as a device to advice owners of vessel operational data such as speed, proximity and weather conditions in an almost real-time user interface, which would assist owners in their operations as well.
The Need for BargeTrak
Piracy Trends For the Last 10 years
‘Pirate attacks hit a 10-year high last year, with a quarter of the raids occurring in Indonesian waters, according to a new report. The violence used in the attacks also soared, with at least 72 seafarers killed compared to three in 1999, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). It said 469 attacks or attempted raids on ships at sea, at anchor or in port was reported last year, compared to 300 in 1999 and only 107 in 1991. On top of the 72 reported deaths, another 99 people were injured, up from 24 in 1999, and a further 26 seafarers are still missing. The IMB's annual piracy report noted an "alarming rise" in piracy and armed robbery in Indonesia, the Straits of Malacca, Bangladesh, India, Ecuador and the Red Sea. Indonesian waters were the most at risk with 119 incidents in the region, which also saw the worst violence.
"Indonesia's political and economic situation is believed to be the main contributing factor to the alarming increase in attacks," the IMB said.
"So far there are no convincing signs that the number of attacks will drop in the near future unless Indonesia takes serious steps to try to address the piracy problems."
In one case last April, a group of around 20 people threw petrol bombs at a ship anchored in Indonesia after a raid in which one of the crew was stabbed in the stomach.
Extent of Security and Your Role
The Malacca Straits, between Indonesia and Malaysia, was the second most dangerous region with 75 incidents in 2000, compared to only two in 1999. The Straits, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, is used by 600 vessels a day. The IMB said Malaysian police had increased patrols and formed a special taskforce to tackle the problem and hoped Indonesia would follow suit. Bangladesh was the third most dangerous area, with 55 attacks, compared to 25 in 1999. But the report said there had been a recent drop in incidents. In one raid in August a crew member on a vessel in Chittagong port was shot twice as he tried to fight off 12 armed pirates. There were also 13 attempted raids in the southern part of the Red Sea, an area where there were no attacks in 1999.’
Source: BBC News, Asia Pacific
Concept of Bargetraks transmission triangle
The above transmission requires the necessary hardware and a personal computer with Sun Java™ installed. An account would be created and 2 passwords would be given to customers. One password designated for login to master account that would give management in particular additional services function [Look at next page for more information]. And another for View only to operations to ONLY TRACK the vessels without additional services functions to avoid unnecessary credit wastage.
A hand-phone application of the tracking system can also be installed on your hand-phone to track your vessels if you do not have a computer with you are that time. The charges of this tracking software is free however, you are subject to charges by your hand-phone carrier as this tracking system utilizes GPRS/3G. Your hand-phone must be capable of supporting Java 1.0 Midlet. If you are not certain, please check with Fleet Automation Services and we will check for you. The hand-phone application will do most of what you are able to do on the PC and you will be able to view maps and information on the phone itself with full zoom in/zoom out functions. This application will be emailed to you and all you have to do it send it to your phone and it will set up itself. Please ensure your GPRS/3G is configured before sending to your hand-phone.
Conclusion and outcome of bargetrak in the industry
In modern times, where pirates are getting smarter, it is only technology that would prove them otherwise. Our clients managed to successfully retrieve their vessel within 48hours after being aware that the vessel has been hijacked. Most vessels without such devices would take a longer time to be found or they would be sold in the black market after being repainted, re-registered under a different name and most likely under a different class as well.