France and India to build the world’s first space-based ship automatic identification system

France and India are joining forces to create the world’s first space-based automatic identification system (AIS) to track merchant ships on a real-time basis.

Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of France’s Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales and K Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, have signed an agreement to start development and production of a constellation of satellites for the ship tracking project, which will potentially revolutionise shipping.

“The system will cover a wide belt across the globe, benefiting a broad range of French economic interests. With a revisit capability making it possible to task acquisitions several times a day, it will also be able to detect oil slicks and trace their origin,” CNES said in a statement.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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