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An Introduction to Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA)

Maritime Domain Awareness is the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment. The maritime domain is defined as all areas and things of, on, under, relating to, adjacent to, or bordering on a sea, ocean, or other navigable waterway, including all maritime-related activities, infrastructure, people, cargo, ships, and other conveyances.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) defines Maritime Domain Awareness as the above, a concept that Pole Star has expanded on for the development of our MDA solution, which provides commercial companies, financial institutions, and governments and Flag administrations with global visibility for vessel investigation and monitoring.

What is MDA?

Pole Star’s MDA platform is a comprehensive AIS integrated maritime data solution for those that require complete situational awareness.

Users can track, monitor, and query the progress of any vessel utilising secure satellite data, alongside satellite and terrestrial-based AIS data. Our patented tracking technology creates a hybrid track of a selected vessel, ship details, and more, for actionable intelligence that empowers time critical decisions.

Who can use MDA and how?

Governments: MDA provides a data management platform for those associated with Homeland Security to rapidly and accurately collect and correlate maritime geospatial data. Utilising secure satellite data (including LRIT, VMS, and SSAS sources), alongside satellite and terrestrial-based AIS data, our patented technology creates a hybrid track of not only a user’s domestic LRIT vessels, but also their non-SOLAS fleet and any maritime asset operating and reporting within the desired area of interest.

This intelligence can be used in homeland protection, customs enforcement, port authority inspections, and by other maritime authorities for the detection of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, accidents and their investigations, dark ships, and transshipments within Exclusive Economic Zones, Territorial Seas, Fisheries, and Closed Area Zones.

Financial Markets: Used in conjunction with Pole Star’s regulatory technology, PurpleTRAC, through the new single sign-on feature, MDA gives commodity traders, insurers, ship charterers and organisations with exposures to shipping and cargoes full visibility of their marine assets and logistics. MDA identifies global shipping trends, and monitors vessel movements, port activity, weather, and trade flows with the most accurate and up to date vessel data available.

Shipping & Offshore: For commercial operators, charterers and brokers that require world-wide, competitive situational awareness; MDA offers the data, actionable intelligence and global visibility needed to increase competitive advantage. The platform provides shipping companies with the ability to monitor their own ships and 3rd party vessels, and provides an additional playback facility.

Why is MDA now more important than ever?

With the current state of global affairs, worldwide tensions are high, creating a landscape in which commercial companies, financial institutions, and governments and Flag administrations must carefully monitor the security of their supply chains and maritime domains for sanctions and environmental regulation violations, the use of deceptive shipping practices, and suspicious, criminal, or terrorist activity.

In conjunction, OFAC, OFSI, the UN, and other national regulators are focussing more extensively on global maritime trade, highlighting the need for all players to keep at pace with the increasingly complex sanctions landscape. MDA allows users to monitor vessel activity in real-time, providing the opportunity to mitigate potential risks that could affect business operations.

This year, another key focus of the maritime industry has been how to lessen our impact on the environment. MDA’s new feature set assists users with addressing these global climate concerns, allowing them to monitor their compliance with environmental regulations. For example, in January the IMO’s Sulphur Cap regulation was enforced, placing limits on ship sulphur emissions in a bid to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the maritime industry.

With the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic creating high levels of uncertainty regarding all aspects of daily life, supply chains are now more critical than ever to ensuring the continual running of essential services. From enabling the global movement of essential supplies to supporting the delivery of food, medical supplies, and healthcare equipment, the maritime trade industry is a key component of the global infrastructure. Without the efficient and continuous running of the global supply chain, the implications of our current situation could be far more severe. At Pole Star we understand how critical movement across our oceans is and, as such, have ensured that our MDA solution provides users with the necessary transparency to maintain and secure business continuity.

How does MDA work?

Using MDA’s wide range of features, users have the ability to thoroughly investigate a vessel’s real-time, historical, and ongoing journey at a granular level, for the continuous monitoring and mitigation of potential risk.

With the upcoming launch of the single sign-on feature, PurpleTRAC users can easily navigate to MDA to extend their sanctions compliance investigations.

Get in touch with us now at sales@polestarglobal.com to learn more about how MDA can assist you.

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