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COACT: A Smarter Framework for High-Quality Maritime Data

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Learn how our COACT framework delivers accurate and reliable maritime data to enable intelligent compliance risk management, monitoring of maritime trade and smarter commercial strategy.

Choose your maritime data and analytics wisely


The making of successful decisions across the maritime industry depends on having access to the most effective insights into maritime risk data, vessel tracking, trade monitoring and commercial opportunities.

Vessel characteristics and movements. Sanctions. Casualties. Changes in ownership. Port callings. The more reliable the insights, the more effectively that professionals can do all of the above plus predict and manage any risks associated with enforcement of sanctions and other financial compliance codes.

And as if due diligence wasn't difficult enough, the tactics employed by sanctions evaders have grown in sophistication too. The consequences of making the wrong decision can be severe, which is why it's important to select only the most trustworthy data and analytics available.

Open-source, publicly available data may offer a broad starting point, but it rarely provides the depth of data and accuracy required. It also may not be giving the most up-to-date information.

Your maritime data should be as complete and insightful as possible. Its value is not necessarily defined by volume, but rather by how successfully it has been transformed into meaningful, useful analytics.

What if your data does not adhere to the right data governance and quality standards? You risk basing your analysis on information that is inaccurate, unreliable and lacking in expert insight.

So what are the right data governance standards? To address this question comprehensively, we have developed our own proprietary framework for ensuring our maritime data delivers the highest standards of insight the industry needs and deserves.

Introducing the COACT data governance model


The maritime industry is perpetually fast-moving, which means the data it generates is also continually in a state of flux. Data is generated and collected by multiple sources to variable standards and, as with any transferral of data, errors and gaps can form which need attention before the data can be used.

Plus, in a small number of cases where a vessel is attempting to evade detection, so that it can carry out subterfuge voyages, the data from the vessel may be deliberately falsified.
So, it doesn't matter how much raw data can be accessed. If it is not held to high standards of quality, so that it can be processed and analysed effectively, the resulting analytics or data stream created from the raw data may result in wrong information – and wrong decisions.
This is why we introduced our 5-point data governance model called COACT. It helps to ensure our output is correct and validated, as it guides us through everything we do that’s related to our data, from the selection of trusted data sources, to the collection and management of our data 24/7, and to the methodologies that have been developed to transform that data into valuable analytics.

COACT diagram

1. Consistency

The quality of analysis depends in a large part on the consistency of the data it relies upon.
That's why our methodologies use strict rules and defined tolerances. To ensure consistency, there are a number of stages that data must pass before we publish it.
Our taxonomy aligns data quickly and assigns it with labels such as IMO number, vessel name or longitude. Then we use automatic matching from incoming AIS messages and other types of data from other trusted sources to validate each of these labelled pieces of data and match it against known information such as vessel name, type and location. Any gaps or anomalies in the data are referred to our experts for manual validation.
Port calls are derived from terrestrial and satellite AIS positions within our geofenced port, sub-port, berth, terminal and anchorage areas using speed and time parameters. Our exclusive access to Lloyd’s Agents on the ground provide exclusive verification of port calls even when AIS is unavailable or switched off.
Casualty messages received only from trusted sources are researched for verification and followed up with progress reports until the incident is resolved.
Vessel characteristics data is received daily and matched into our database. Any inconsistencies are researched by analysts for verification or correction. Rules and tolerances ensure that our data is valid and subsequent conflicts are not created.
We have developed a unique set methodology to research and establish seven levels of ownership to record all the companies and individuals associated with vessel ownership and management.
Sanctions information is sourced from the relevant authorities twice a day. It is then automatically matched to the vessel information on our database using the vessel's unique IMO number for cross referencing over our database.

2. Origin

Trust in outcomes starts with trust in the sources of our data. Over 3,000 sources inform our database, each one with a confidence rating applied. We feed the confidence ratings per source into advanced algorithms which we developed in-house to ensure that our data is sourced to the highest standards.
This ensures that the most trusted data automatically receives top placement, while our expert analysts manually check data that arrives from sources with lower confidence ratings.
Our sources include Classification Societies, Flag State Registers, Port State Control Authorities, P&I Clubs, Lloyd’s Agents, coast guards, OFAC, HM Treasury, the EU and UN, and terrestrial and satellite AIS data partners. We also gather supplementary information from open-source intelligence, company registries, financial statements, market references and counterparty interviews.

3. Accuracy

To maintain accuracy, we only add verified data to our database. We check records for quality through an automated quality assurance process, with any manual changes peer reviewed.
We have also developed our own AIS Smart Match system. This allows analysts to assess and clean up the anomalies inherent in AIS data. In addition, we hold systematic weekly quality checks on records which have been changed.
Incoming data is always checked against known and validated pre-existing data in our database to highlight hidden inconsistencies.
It's also important to know that we do not manipulate, amend or interpret sanctions information. It appears on our database exactly as it does on the sanctions lists.

4. Completeness

Analysis cannot be effective unless it includes as much of each data set as possible. Our database includes the most complete view of the global trading fleet, including Class A vessels and smaller Class B commercial and pleasure craft.
In fact, we hold information on more than 700,000 vessels across the full vessel lifecycle from reported order through to demolition or cancellation.
We have 12.2k ports, 14.3k terminals and 38k berths geofenced around the globe. We also have the most complete casualty database available, dating back to 1965.

5. Timeliness

If data is accurate, trustworthy, complete and consistent, it will not be effective if it isn't delivered in a timely fashion.
Our AIS receiver networks, and those of our trusted partners, are held to 95% uptime agreements, delivering continuous data for customers.
Anomalies where AIS data is not immediately matched are researched within 24 hours so that we can publish the most accurate data quickly.
We receive twice-daily data feeds from sanctioning bodies with sanctioned vessels viewable within 10 minutes of being announced. And company sanctions records are matched and integrated for cross referencing across our database within 24 hours of receipt.
In addition, our Casualty Service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. So reports are uploaded to the service within 20 minutes and further updates are available as they happen until resolution of the casualty incident.

A hard-working standard

As we pointed out earlier, the COACT governance framework governs more than just the collection of maritime data. We apply these standards to every part of our data and analytical insight: from the selection of our partners to technical uptimes, efficiency, data handling, processing, and analytics.
In an industry with so much data, COACT represents the most comprehensive system for ensuring the solutions you rely on are always accurate, trustworthy and insightful.

Key takeaways

  • Our COACT governance model guides us to ensure our published intelligence is correct and validated, from the selection of trusted data sources, to the collection and management of our data 24/7, and to the methodologies that have been developed to transform that data into valuable analytics
  • Thanks to COACT, our customers can be assured that the decisions and actions they take are backed by data and analytics that adhere to the highest standards.
  • This is why we are the world’s most trusted maritime expert for data and analytics.