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The oceans have been, throughout history, one of the preferred channels to get transport of illegal goods. Or all that business that, for one reason or another, was preferred to keep away from all human eyes. Countries selling oil or other goods in secret, piracy or kidnapping. An amount of irregular activities that gave more than a headache in international politics. Although all ships must carry the Automatic Identification System (AIS), it is a mechanism that captains of ships can deactivate without any difficulty, becoming ‘ghost ships’, impossible to trace in international waters.
But this kind of maritime anarchy has come to an end in recent years, when companies have begun to emerge that, with the aim of offering security and control in the oceans to their customers, have resorted to artificial intelligence to monitor trans-national waters .
Thousands of surveillance satellites have been launched into space, which track the routes and movements of vessels minute by minute and in real time. And not only that, they can also collect information as detailed as what type and what amount of merchandise they transport by the shadow that reflects in the sea. Now, ships with illegal purposes have nowhere to hide, or at least have to work harder to get by unnoticed.
But, surprisingly, the importance of these companies and their satellites has a much greater scope. With these portraits, a fairly reliable radiography of the state of the economy worldwide can be obtained. For example, according to the BBC, Samir Madani, co-founder of TankerTrackers.com , one of the companies dedicated to the tracking of ships, numerous oil tankers from the US who were heading to China and stopped in the middle of the ocean when the commercial tensions between the Two countries started.
They are also a useful tool to know if the agreements agreed between nations or international organizations are being fulfilled. It is no longer necessary to wait until they reach port, but with a simple glance at the satellite images it can be checked. You can even know how long it will take to get the goods transported. This means that they can act much faster in the face of sudden changes in price or demand.
It can be said that the tracking of boats is gaining more and more importance in the world market. Not only oil, but many other basic needs products whose changes in price, supply or demand, directly affect the overall economy of the world. Therefore, even financial operators and hedge funds have an eye placed beyond the land borders. Now, a new front opens up. The financial and economic war has found a new scenario in which to fight: the seas.