Visualization for Maritime Situational Awareness

Protecting and securing shippings and assets at sea against smuggling, piracy and other threats.

The Maritime Safety and Security Domain (MSSD) is concerned with protecting
shipping, infrastructure at sea, economic assets such as oil or gas platforms, and
environmental assets such as nature reserves against a broad range of threats. These threats include illegal activities such as smuggling drugs or arms, environmental degradation, illegal fishing, human trafficking, piracy, or terrorism. The responsibility of safeguarding the maritime domain against such threats lies with international initiatives, national navies, law enforcement agencies such as the coast guard, and customs and border protection agencies.

In this project we focus specifically on the context of law enforcement. We do not deal with Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) or the warfare domain. In the maritime safety and security domain, operators stationed on board of law enforcement vessels or in land-based stations monitor some area of interest for suspicious behaviour and anomalies. These areas of interest typically contain tens to hundreds of vessels. The operators can have a large number of responsibilities and objectives, such as managing emergency situations, enforcing the law, protecting economic interests, and controlling the border. These responsibilities are defined by the mission the operator is on and the law enforcement agency they are working for. When a vessel is  behaving  suspiciously or is breaking some law, the operator can respond in a number of ways. The operator can contact the suspect vessel, the operator can fine the vessel, send a law  enforcement vessel to intercept, board, and search the vessel, or the operator can mark the vessel as suspect so it can be held offshore for inspection. These actions may, however, be costly, or come at the cost of human life, and resources are limited. This implies that operators need to be confident in their decision to act.