UK Space Agency Awards exactEarth 1.1 Million for Small Vessel Tracking
[Via Satellite 12-29-2016] ExactEarth Europe Limited, a U.K. subsidiary of exactEarth Ltd, the leading provider of satellite Automatic Identification System (AIS) data services, has been awarded a 1.1 million pound (approximately $1.3 million) grant from the UK Space Agency under its International Partnerships Program (IPP). The IPP funding will support the operational deployment of exactEarth’s satellite AIS-based small vessel tracking technology “exactTrax” to improve Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) for South Africa’s small boat owners and operators — in particular the artisanal fishing sector. As such, exactEarth Europe will be working closely on the project with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and South Africa’s National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).
The grant award follows the successful South Africa Safety Initiative for Small Vessels (OASIS) project, also partly funded by the UK Space Agency, which trialed exactEarth’s exactTrax service with SAMSA in 2015/2016. Small vessels in the fisheries, leisure marine and workboat sectors in South Africa typically operate without a tracking system onboard, making it difficult for the authorities to locate them if they are involved in an accident at sea. OASIS demonstrated that exactEarth’s exactTrax technology provides the small vessel tracking required by the safety authorities.
Under this new project, OASIS Operational Take-up (OASIS-TU), South Africa’s most “at-risk” small boat population — artisanal fishing boats under 10 meters — will be operationally equipped with exactTrax-enabled AIS transponders. Position reports (and alerts in the case of SOS situations) from these will be provided as standard AIS messages for integration into SAMSA’s and the NSRI’s maritime domain awareness and Search and Rescue (SaR) systems. To assist with the rollout of the project, exactEarth will be partnering with two South African companies, Marine Data Solutions and Stone Three Venture Technology, both based in Cape Town. The expected duration of this project is 18 months.
The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Program is a 150 million pound (approximately $183 million) multi-year program which uses space knowledge, expertise and capability to provide a sustainable, economic or societal benefit to undeveloped nations and developing economies. Grants are awarded to industrial and academic partners to run projects that address real-world problems in developing nations.