Track And Trace A Damaged Ship. How to?

Dec 23, 2021

In this article, we will discuss and cover how to track and trace a damaged ship.

With so many vessels out there, have you ever wondered how surveillance systems could find a ship?

What if a vessel gets damaged, which could cause it to get lost? How do surveillance systems locate such a ship?

Sea Traffic Tracking API

Travel by sea is one of the most common forms of transportation that has existed for centuries.

Even in the age where the aviation industry is at its peak, shipping by sea is still as widespread as ever, there are thousands of vessels out there on the sea. As well, many famous sea trade routes are still filled with massive sea traffic, such as the Suez Canal that is crucial for much of the trade economy.

1. Maritime Radar

Radar tracking is one way in which you can locate a damaged ship.

Radar tracking can be done in two ways: ship radars and satellite radars. Ship radars consist of X-band and S-band.

Radars are usually in the form of a rotating antenna on the top of the ship. X-band frequencies give better imaging and resolution but are not ideal in bad weather conditions. In those cares, S-band frequencies are preferable.

Radar Ship Tracking Data

Let’s say, that the ship got damaged or lost in a scenario where the weather was terrible, so you’ll probably be using S-band frequencies. Ship radars will display everything near the ship as small blips on a screen, which can help navigate through obstacles and find other ships.

Satellite radars work in the same way, except they use satellites that are above the planet. They scan the sea surface and display all objects as blips on a screen.

However, these images are worthless if one cannot cross-reference them with other data. 

Track Damaged Ship AIS Traking

2. AIS Tracking

The AIS tracking system is one of the essential technologies for the maritime industry.

In addition to providing real-time imagery of ships, this system can also provide other information like ship name, speed, heading, among so many others.

AIS Data makes it possible to find ships by name too.

Alongside machine learning algorithms, AIS tracking is a revolutionary tool. You can also use it to locate other nearby ships with AIS technology. This can be useful in cases where a damaged ship might have a working AIS device. However, tAIS technology has some limitations as sometimes there can be gaps in data.

Additionally, if the AIS device is removed on a ship, the vessel can be impossible to locate through the system. This is why to find ghost ship locations, using AIS tracking alongside radar is preferable.

It is important to note that innovations in AIS tracking, like Dynamic AIS, have made this system more reliable. 

3. Maritime View By Satellite

When all else fails, there is still the option for satellite imaging. Satellite imaging involves using one of the cameras attached to various satellites revolving around the planet. You can use these cameras to scan pretty much any place on Earth’s surface.

However, the problem with this method is that the quality and resolution of the camera are too low.

Satellite Tracking Maritime API

The only feasible way to use this method is if you have been able to find ship locations or know the last area the lost ship had been spotted.

Using satellite imaging alongside radar and AIS tracking could be a helpful method, as it can allow you to have more visual aid. This could be useful in identifying how damaged the ship in question will be or confirming if a blip on a screen is indeed a ship.

After all, these may be situations where ships can’t navigate to the location due to dangerous weather conditions. 

SAR Maritime Tracking Data

4. SAR Maritime tracking

SAR, also known as Synthetic Aperture Radar, is another method that you can use to locate ghost ships.

This system works by a sensor attached to satellites that produce energy and then fire it at the Earth. This sensor then scans the energy that is reflected and interprets how the surface of the Earth looks.

SAR Tracking is another helpful way of scanning ghost ships and even uses machine learning algorithms to make predictions. Using such a way alongside AIS can be helpful. It is helpful without AIS, too, if a ship is heavily damaged and the AIS tech has been busted. Or, of course, if the crew has gone dark on purpose to take part in illegal activities. 

Wrapping Up


Maritime travel and transportation are widespread to this day and are a crucial part of trading worldwide. The sea and oceans are vast and unforgiving, which means a ship may easily get damaged or lost. Private and public sector invest many resources to minimize the impact of that on the world. If you were wondering how to find a lost ship, then the following methods we have listed are excellent methods of doing so. They each have their flaws and advantages but can be vital in locating such ships if used together.  

Locate Damaged Ship API

Track And Trace A Damaged Ship With The Most Updated AIS Data

Interested in preventing or investigating accidents? Start to Track and Trace a damaged ship. You can get your API Key to access all the AIS Data within a minute! Click the button below to get started right away!

Our team would be happy to assist you with your questions anytime, so feel free to contact us to talk about how our data can help you grow your business or help you increase efficiency in maritime operations. Samples available!

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