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The Lloyd’s Agency Network and Lloyd’s List Intelligence: the importance of human validation behind our leading maritime data

More Data Storytelling

When navigating the complex world of maritime trade and compliance, the most valuable asset at your disposal is accurate, reliable data – especially in sectors where poor insights could lead to multi-million financial losses and fines.

But as Automatic Identification System (AIS) manipulation has become more frequent and new sophisticated tactics like AIS spoofing are emerging, we must acknowledge that data is always at risk of being tampered with. For this reason, having an additional layer of human validation and intelligence on the ground is necessary not only to ensure the integrity of the information, but also to gather data from locations where other sources might be lacking, and to verify vessel movements, casualties, and other incidents.

This is where our partnership with the Lloyd’s Agency Network comes in.

In this blog, the second article in our Data Differentiators series, we explore why and how this benefits you.


What is the Lloyd’s Agency Network?

The Lloyd’s Agency Network, which sits under the Lloyd’s Corporation, is the world’s most extensive marine surveying, claims, and recovery handling network.

Founded in 1811 and created to be the eyes and ears of underwriters, it’s a key part of the renowned insurance and reinsurance market Lloyd’s.

We share a rich history with Lloyd’s, with origins dating back to the establishment of Edward Lloyd’s coffee shop in 1734. This iconic establishment served as a hub for sailors, merchants, and shipowners to receive reliable shipping news. It was here that discussions on maritime insurance, shipbroking, and foreign trade flourished, laying the groundwork for the maritime industry as we know it today.

For decades, we’ve maintained an exclusive partnership with Lloyd’s Agency Network, harnessing its vast reach and expertise to provide insight not available elsewhere and deliver the most robust network of human intelligence and support.

The success of our partnership lies in our close collaboration. Our proprietary terrestrial AIS network, covering over 5,800+ ports worldwide, enjoys an uptime of approximately 97% due to the dedicated efforts of Lloyd’s agents stationed globally. These agents not only host our AIS terrestrial receivers exclusively at core trading hubs but also provide daily upkeep, ensuring uninterrupted service for our customers.

Lloyd’s agents also provide daily reports and follow-up insights on marine casualty incidents, like ship collisions and sinkings, vessel groundings and vessel arrests to the dedicated Lloyd’s List Intelligence casualty desk. Our casualty team then updates these vessel incidents as more information becomes available.

In instances where ships are declared total losses, we meticulously track and report these incidents to Lloyd’s, so they’re recorded in their Loss Book. This not only influences decisions within the insurance market but also holds significance for shipowners, operators, charterers, and other stakeholders. This reciprocal relationship underscores the trust and reliance placed on our high-quality reporting.


Data is always at risk of being manipulated

When you use tools like Seasearcher Advanced Risk & Compliance, you can reliably detect vessels’ engagement in deceptive shipping practices such as loitering, dark port calls, ship-to-ship (STS) transfers, and more. This is because we operate and maintain our own AIS terrestrial equipment.

However, the very nature of AIS communication being open- source makes AIS data susceptible to manipulation. AIS receiver stations can also be compromised, allowing unauthorised access by hackers or malicious actors. In these scenarios, these individuals can generate new sets of AIS messages for vessels using their unique Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI).

These threats have become increasingly relevant, particularly in light of the rise in AIS manipulation following the Russia-Ukraine War. In 2021, Russia notably demonstrated its proficiency in this tactic by spoofing the route of the British warship HMS Defender through the Russian naval base of Sevastopol.

For this reason, bringing the human element into our rigorous data validation processes is extremely important.


Lloyd’s agents offer a necessary layer of human insight

Lloyd’s agents provide crucial insights that satellite data alone cannot capture. Their reporting of vessel positions, even in scenarios where AIS is unavailable or intentionally turned off, predates the emergence of terrestrial AIS and satellite tracking in 2010. The extensive historical data they’ve gathered provides a unique perspective and serves as a valuable resource.

Their dedicated management of our stations also makes it easy for them to investigate potential tampering on site and spot anomalies near the shore, including obscured IMO numbers, vessels flying under different flags, suspicious ship-to-ship (STS) transfers, and dark port calls.

They act as our frontline observers on breaking incidents, providing 24/7 updates and follow-up reports on marine casualties, port construction and developments, disruptions to supply chains, safety issues, labour disputes, machinery damage, vessel arrests, and more. Thanks to their diligence, we were the first to report on significant events such as the 2021 Suez Canal obstruction with the grounding of the Ever Given, and the 2020 Beirut port explosion and its implications on trade in the region.

Lloyd's agents represent one of the most esteemed networks of port agents in the industry, and are regarded as the gold standard. Their reputation for reliability and accuracy makes them trusted partners, setting the benchmark for excellence in the market.


How do you benefit?

Our exclusive partnership with Lloyd’s Agency Network not only enhances the accuracy and reliability of our data but also sets us apart from our competitors.

With data from 500 agents strategically positioned in sensitive or complex areas with a full view of the coastline – stationed in 1,100 ports across 170 countries – you can be sure that you’ll get the information you need.

What makes the network especially impressive is its continuous global expansion, even into areas that may have limited satellite viability due to government regulations. And while other maritime intelligence platforms may rely solely on terrestrial data alone, our integration of human expertise and validation adds a layer of depth that’s unmatched in the industry.

As a result, you benefit from a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of maritime risk, empowering you to make informed decisions with confidence.

To learn more about how you can detect AIS spoofing with Lloyd’s List Intelligence’s Seasearcher tools, download our white paper.