Ship locator

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by kpdad2013, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. kpdad2013

    kpdad2013 Member

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    Our DD is B-Split and leaves to start his sea year tomorrow. Does anyone know of a good web site where we can track his ship?
     
  2. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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  3. deepdraft1

    deepdraft1 Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited

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  4. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    sea year

    Our son is leaving too, though he should have gone to sea on the 22nd, then it was delayed to the 30th and now it's going to happen on the 14th. Nice little blessings from the govt for being late in getting out his sea partner's papers. I'll take seeing him as long as I can!
    I just wonder how he's going to make up the lost days at sea when the trimesters keep them in school. It's not like they can go out to sea for 9 days and start school again! Any wisdom out there?:wink:
     
  5. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    Not to worry dramamama. There are people at the Academy who's job it is to make sure they get their days in. They can stay out a few days longer the next time out or spend some time on Liberator or the Kings Pointer. Just enjoy this time.
     
  6. XBulldog

    XBulldog Member

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  7. NU81

    NU81 Parent

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    I want to post a quick note on these tracking systems. After watching the various ships for a year (yes he is done) we realized that there are places around the world that they do not post the position on a regular bases. At first this was a little disconcerting when we lost track of the ship for a couple of days. Then it would show up near the next port. Our best guess is that there are places around the world where the shipping companies do not want the position posted. There is no sense giving the bad guys the latitude, longitude, speed and direction of the ship. We also found that one of the US coastal tankers did not report well.
     
  8. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    I've often wondered why the shipping industry publically advertised the types of ships and their locations. In the continuing age of piracy I'm surprised. I'd almost rather not have it out on the net.:angel:
     
  9. kpdad2013

    kpdad2013 Member

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    ship tracker

    Thanks everyone for the great information!
     
  10. 2009KPer

    2009KPer Member

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    Just a quick little note on the way these tracking sites work...

    SailWX bases its positions of ships on the weather reports sent from those ships at sea. This is public information that is published on NOAA's offshore weather maps. Every bit of information on that is recorded and sent in manually by someone onboard (usually the cadet, actually, if it needs to be sent during his watch). Weather observations are completely voluntary and if for whatever reason, the company or master doesn't want this information to be sent, it doesn't need to be. Since weather reports need not be sent when in port, or near land (even on coastal voyages - the idea is to get weather data on the high seas), these position updates will cease for a little while until the ship is at sea again. This is why your son/daughter's ship may "disappear" for awhile.

    Marinetraffic.com is a network of AIS receivers positioned throughout different ports. AIS (Automatic Identification System) is basically a VHF-based transponder that all vessels of a certain size must have. It's a very powerful tool, whose primary shipboard use is for collision avoidance, but the technology has expanded to allow tracking of vessels in/near ports all over the world. The system requires no constant user input, except for certain data like the destination and ETA. Position, speed and course are provided by onboard GPS. Between ships, the data is (relatively) "instant", but if you notice on the website, each ship has a time-stamp, usually of a couple minutes or so. I imagine that the bandwidth required to have constant updating would slow the site significantly and increase costs. Since AIS is VHF based, the receivers used to feed the website can only "see" so far offshore until the signal is lost (generally 30-40 miles or so, depending on antenna heights). Just like the weather reports, transmission of your AIS signal can be disabled (receiver can stay on), if deemed necessary by the master.

    In short, it's not so much that the companies are publicly allowing tracking of their vessels. What is happening is that a tool designed for safe shipping and navigation/collision avoidance is being "tapped into" and broadcast on the internet. There's really not much that can be done about it though, short of strict enforcement of disallowing these types of websites (which would never be legal/practical). Once the signal is out, it's up for grabs.

    AIS technology is advancing every day and soon there will be satellite coverage which will allow reception of AIS signals anywhere on the planet, allowing companies to see (in "real time") where their vessels are.

    IMO, the whole "terrorists might use AIS websites to plan attacks" thing is a little overblown. Shutting down the sites (like some people want to) would do little. AIS receivers are so cheap that anybody who wants to see what's in their area can do so for a few hundred bucks. The real protection has to come from the captain/crew to use discretion on when to disable AIS transmissions. When I was going through the Gulf of Aden a few years ago now, we were ready to do that, but never had to.
     
  11. NU81

    NU81 Parent

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    We found that the four times our son's ship went through the Gulf of Aden we would lose contact for a couple of days. However, this was also about the same time as the MAERSK Virginia was hijacked so they were probably being extra careful.
     
  12. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    I think you meant the Maersk Alabama vice the Maersk VIrginia.....
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  13. NU81

    NU81 Parent

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    Yep, I got my ships mixed up .......Sorry!
     
  14. CPASteve_98

    CPASteve_98 Member

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  15. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    For all the parents new to this process and thread, the earlier post in this thread by 2009KPer does a great job at explaining the use and limitations of the free ships trackers available here on the world wide web. It anticipates and should answer many of your questions on when, where and how you might be able to follow your DS/DD travels during their sea year.
     
  16. luv2fly

    luv2fly Member

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    Our DS left Long Beach last week on the Matson-Manulani headed for Honolulu. He made it to Honolulu and ran into two other mids and they spent the 4 of July together. Now off to Guam.
     
  17. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    shipping out

    Way cool for your son. I'm getting very excited about our son taking off for his first sea trip.
     
  18. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    luv2fly I sent you a pm
     
  19. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    shipping out

    Parents and midshipmen; perhaps for the benefit of the newbies of all sorts you can maybe answer these questions?

    1) Do most ships have email? Do they get to use it?
    2) At ports are there phones and "seaman" type room for purchasing international phone cards, skyping or calling home? I hear that is the case with many ports. Much obliged.
     
  20. KP13Mom

    KP13Mom Member

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    Our DS shipped out on 6/24. He did buy an international card in AK expecting to use it while in ports of Korea and Japan. He and his sea partner decided not to get China visas for this trip.

    We did receive an email from him 2 days ago. It was very brief. He's working hard, learning lots and has STARTED his sea projects! It is my understanding that it is a 'community' email and that nothing is private. It is also not guaranteed that emails will be downloaded in a 'timely' fashion. They may only download once or twice a day.
     

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