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NEW: Vessel Watch, Ursa Space Systems

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

What is the Product?

Ursa’s Vessel Watch product is an operational, SAR-based solution for detecting vessels near ports and in open ocean. Optionally, the product also includes predicted vessel classes for some dark vessel types.

Additionally, with the use of AIS and RF data, this product correlates alternate data sources to identify the name and/or MMSI of the detected vessel.

This product uses data on Ursa’s Platform to fuse SAR imagery-based vessel detection with AIS and RF data, enabling greater maritime situational awareness by showing both vessel detections that match AIS feeds, as well as vessels that have their AIS turned off. This product can be generated on any vendor’s stripmap SAR data that is currently being ingested and catalogued on Ursa’s Platform.

This product is conveniently accessible via Application Programming Interface (API) so that you can readily import the data into your existing suite of maritime tools. Dashboard-based visualizations are also available upon request.


  • The ability to detect and identify vessels that are not transmitting AIS for a more complete picture of maritime domain awareness

  • An additional mechanism by which to confirm a vessel's activity to approve transactions with confidence

  • Identify and detect trading vessels that are not transmitting AIS to adjust views on supply and demand

While identifying ships involved in sanctionable activities is obviously important to many stakeholders in the maritime industry, this can also cause challenges when it cannot unequivocally be determined that an "event" has taken place.


  1. A vessel doesn't transmit an AIS signal for 24 hours in the Strait of Hormuz where approximately 20% of the world's total oil consumption passes through daily.

  2. Your solution provider’s Predictive Insights (see below) determine that it was entirely feasible that the ship could have called at Bandar Abbas (Iranian Port).

  3. Beyond the system's insights and your client/prospects/counterpart/carriers word, you have no other information to corroborate whether or not this event occurred.

  4. You're faced with the decision to either proceed with the transaction and risk the repercussions of a sanctions breach or not, or risk upsetting a current or potential business partner who has done no wrong.


  • Tasking satellites is expensive when compared to Maritime Compliance solutions in Tiers 1-3. However, this cost is reduced by leveraging a subscription based model, allowing the cost to be spread across many users.

  • Vessel identification from SAR is not yet perfect and may not produce the definitive answers users are looking for i.e, IMO ship identification number or MMSI of the vessel

  • There may be time lags in producing results which may not suit every use case e.g,, commodity traders.

Early adopters of this solution are likely to be organisations involved in high value transactions and therefore have the most to gain by using a solution that can help them proceed with confidence.

Company type: Trade Finance and Ship Finance

Users: Compliance, Sanctions, AML, Financial Crime

Company Type: Marine Insurance

Users: Underwriting, Loss Prevention, Claims, Compliance

Company type: Energy and Commodity Traders

Users: Chartering, Vetting, Trading, Compliance

Interested in learning more?

1. Click here for additional technical documentation

2. Book a call with the Maritime Data team to learn more

3. Email us at


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