White Shipping - Information Exchange
Press Note December 22
‘White Shipping’ information refers to the information on merchant shipping. This information is available primarily through the Automatic Identification System (AIS), which are equipment fitted on merchantmen with more than 300 Gross Registered Tonnage as mandated by the International Maritime Organisation. The AIS information from ships comprises name, MMSI number, position, course, speed, last port visited, destination etc. This information can be picked up through various AIS sensors including coastal AIS chains, satellite based AIS receivers and V/ UHF AIS receivers. Merchant ships whose AIS transmissions are not available are colloquially called ‘Dark Shipping’.
The transnational nature of maritime domain provides for unfettered movement across seas. The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) accounts for 66 percent of world’s oil, 33 percent of bulk cargo and 50 percent of container shipments with over 100,000 ships transiting through it annually. Hence, situational awareness in the Indian Ocean Region is important for the well-being of many countries. However, considering the large quantum of merchant shipping transiting the IOR and the multi-national nature of world maritime trade, it is not possible for any single nation to individually monitor the oceans, which thus necessitates collaborative arrangements between countries. These include bilateral information sharing agreements.
The Indian Navy is mandated to conclude White Shipping Information Exchange agreements with 36 countries and three multi-national constructs. To date, these have been signed with 19 countries and one multi-national construct and data exchange is already in progress with 12 countries.
The Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) which is being launched on 21 Dec 18 at Gurugram will enable Indian Navy to interact with various multi-national constructs and international and national agencies for information on White Shipping. The collated data will comprehensively improve the situational awareness on merchant shipping in the IOR. The centre will also facilitate dissemination of analysed maritime security and safety information to partner nations, constructs and agencies.