exactEarth Europe, along with the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has completed a small vessel tracking trial using Advanced Class B Satellite Enabled AIS (ABSEA) identifier in South Africa.

The trial is a part of exactEarth’s South Africa Safety Initiative for Small Vessels (OASIS) project, and is part-funded by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) under its International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP).

SRT Marine Technology (SRT – UK) and Marine Data Solutions (MDSol – South Africa) are also involved in the sea trial.

"We would sincerely like to thank SAMSA for their support and feedback related to the project."

exactEarth noted that SAMSA looks to ensure safety of life at sea (SOLAS), including small vessels in fisheries, leisure marine and workboat sectors.

These vessels, mainly artisanal fishing boats, usually operate without a tracking system on-board, making it difficult for the authorities to locate them if they are involved in an accident at sea.

exactEarth CEO Peter Mabson said: "The extensive trial activity being conducted in South Africa under the OASIS project is a very important step in the validation and introduction of our small vessel tracking solution.

"The work on the project to deploy this product in a real world environment and to get critical feedback from a range of actual users who face these real world issues is invaluable as a major step in the market introduction process for this exciting new capability.

"We would sincerely like to thank SAMSA for their support and feedback related to the project and to UKSA for providing the funding and oversight for this important activity.

"We also look forward to taking this activity to the next level as an operational capability in South Africa and to thereby make a meaningful contribution to the improvement of maritime safety."

Designed specifically to support long and short-range small vessel tracking, the ‘Advanced Class B Satellite Enabled AIS’ (ABSEA) identifier is battery-powered and can easily be fitted onto very small boats with little or no on-board infrastructure.

ABSEA identifier transmits standard class B AIS position reports that can be detected by coastal AIS systems and by exactEarth’s satellite AIS constellation.

After completing the trial in South Africa, SAMSA is now evaluating its options for the operational use of ABSEA.

Currently, with a grant extension from the UKSA, exactEarth Europe, SRT, MDSol and SAMSA are conducting a second, smaller trial with the Namibian Directorate of Maritime Affairs on their Atlantic coast.

This trial is expected to be concluded by September this year.