06 Januari 2015

[060115.EN.SEA] Iran Evades Sanctions With Syria by Emitting Confusing False GPS Signals

IRANIAN oil tankers are emitting false data to satellites to confuse global tracking systems (GPS) and conceal voyages made by themselves and Syria which is also subject to international economic sanctions.

The two countries are close allies and have helped each other deal with shortages by swapping badly needed fuels such as gasoline for diesel.

Now tanker tracking data monitored by Reuters and shipping specialists have highlighted a more subtle twist, said the report published in the Jordan Times.

Large vessels must transmit their identity and location to other ships and coastal authorities using an automatic satellite communication system, but in the last month Iranian vessels sailing in Asian waters have sent signals that took over the identity of other vessels, so the same ship appeared to be in two places at once.

In one case, a tanker appeared to sail from the Suez Canal to the Red Sea stopping off in Jordan and Yemen on its way to Iran while at the same time it appeared to be going through the South China Sea to Mingo.

"It is possible to manipulate or falsify information in these messages," said Richard Hurley, a senior analyst at IHS Airplay, a maritime intelligence publisher.

Inmarsat security chief Peter said a ship could get its GlobalPositioning System (GPS) to give false data, including pretending to beanother vessel.

"That equipment is programmable one way or another," he said, adding that he had come across data manipulation by ships involved in illegal fishing or waste dumping.

Syrian-owned Lady Rasha's satellite track first mixed up with theIranian-owned oil tanker Millionaire on October 20, when the tanker begantransmitting the same signal as the cargo ship.

The Lady Rasha was then docked in Benghazi, Libya while the Millionaire tanker was sailing in the Indian Ocean.

To do this, the Millionaire changed its MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity, a nine digit unique number that is associated with your specific VHF installation, and really like a digital Call Sign). One's DSC (Digital Selective Calling) is a message that contains both location and identity data, from 572450210 to match the Lady Rasha's number: 677030700.

Although the Lady Rasha sent signals during its journey across the eastern Mediterranean, her identity was overwritten by the Iranian ship, which wasalso sending position signals of its own from the Indian Ocean.

As a result, the Millionaire appears to be undertaking two parallel journeys thousands of kilometres apart, while the Lady Rasha's track is not plotted.

On one track the Millionaire can be seen sailing the Lady Rasha's course in the Mediterranean, and on the other it is steaming though the Indian Ocean from east Asia back to Iran.

Soirce : HKSG,

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