Maritime Innovator: SynMax

Maritime use cases:

SynMax’s maritime domain intelligence product uses Machine Learning and AI, and a fusion of multiple data streams, to combat dark shipping.

Our customers never cease to impress us with their inventive solutions to create a safer ocean environment. Their out-of-the-box thinking is driving positive change and making our planet a better place.

This month’s innovative customer spotlight is on SynMax, a firm that combines multiple intelligence disciplines with specialists in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Its maritime domain intelligence product, Theia, works by fusing multiple data streams, including Spire’s AIS data, in a way that negates any advantage that a dark ship may utilize in an effort to stay hidden.

Logo SynMax

SynMax’s innovative technology has found a way to take satellite imagery to the next level by combining it with Spire Maritime’s AIS data. By doing so, they are able to create a comprehensive view of all ocean activity around the world. This innovative approach enables SynMax to detect and identify vessels that engage in AIS spoofing, a common practice that deceives navigation systems and can lead to dangerous situations. With access to Spire Maritime’s data and their own vast collections of satellite imagery, SynMax can automatically pinpoint these vessels at scale, making the world’s oceans safer for everyone.

Tracking and locating vessels in the vast expanse of the world’s oceans is a complex task, fraught with difficulties. That is where SynMax, a company founded by Bill Perkins, comes in. Theia uses proprietary machine learning and artificial intelligence, in combination with global satellite imagery collected daily, to see through spoofing attempts. AIS spoofing is illegally turning off and synthetically projecting AIS locations, akin to using a VPN to mask an IP address. However, because AIS spoofing is a digital process, it cannot change the facts on the ground as seen from a satellite, meaning that dark ships cannot hide behind measures such as spoofing or turning off AIS, RF or other signals. Theia can instantly locate and prove a vessel’s location, attribute it, and assess its future intentions. This is applicable to almost all maritime industries; from insurance providers wishing to ensure that vessels they insure are not engaging in sanctions violations, to illegal and unreported fishing, to weapons and human trafficking.

“I believe that what sets SynMax apart in the maritime industry is the ability to ingest huge quantities of data and turn it into actionable intelligence, exponentially increasing its value for customers. By analyzing whole earth observation data combined with AIS and other signals intelligence, Theia can automatically identify any vessel over thirty meters, attribute it, and track it throughout its journey visually, on a mass scale.”

David Brettell, SynMaxDavid Brettell
Intelligence Analyst, SynMax

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This enabled Theia to give analysts immeasurably more capacity to shine a light on wrong-doers and ultimately aid in bringing them to justice. It provides an automatic evidentiary chain, making it possible to retrospectively view a vessel’s historic movements, meaning that past infractions can be exposed at any time and be used as evidence in a court of law. On the 8th of March 2023, Theia identified and tracked 22,000 vessels in the South China Sea alone.

SynMax screenshot

One of SynMax’s successful collaborations was with a leading maritime insurance provider. The insurance provider tasked Theia to ascertain whether a vessel they were interested in, the TIFANI, was engaging with Iran and taking on sanctioned oil, putting all involved with the vessel at risk of financial penalties. According to AIS data, the TIFANI was acting within the law, staying in a single location outside of Iranian waters. However, Theia’s ability to automatically identify, attribute and track vessels at scale helped the insurance provider to see beyond the AIS data and ensure compliance with the law.

SynMax’s success lies in its ability to fuse multiple intelligence disciplines with specialists in machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide the most accurate and timely energy intelligence on the market. Its technology can help identify and expose wrong-doers, ultimately aiding in bringing them to justice.

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