Last week was a historical week for me, as I provided supporting documentation in five legal cases in one week using PortVision’s historical vessel position reports.
At PortVision, we archive every vessel position that we have received for the past six years. And while many are familiar with basic AIS ship tracking, PortVision goes a step further. In addition to recording AIS ship tracks, we apply terrestrial and satellite AIS data to log vessel arrivals, departures, and passings worldwide. This historical data can then be easily accessed and “replayed”, providing unprecedented supporting documentation by providing: vessel positions, true heading, course over ground, speed, and other data transmitted from the vessel. This data is not calculated or derived data but the actual data that area vessels are transmitting from their GPS. As an expert witness for PortVision, providing this data for a law firm usually pulls me into legal cases to provide the factual or expert witness testimony in state or federal court or in a deposition.
I graduated from Texas A&M Maritime Academy with a BS in Marine Transportation & Unlimited Third Mates License, sailed on various commercial vessels, and spent 13 years as a Coast Guard Officer (two years leading marine casualty investigations at a Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit). I truly enjoy compiling the factual information from PortVision to reconstruct vessel movements and being able to educate and explain what the data is saying to all the stakeholders involved. In a past case, the federal judge declared my testimony was more credible than the eye witness! If someone, like an “eye witness”, is standing on the dock and sees a vessel go by that causes a large wave, he may state that the vessel was going 13 knots and passed within 60 feet of a docked vessel. However, if I get asked a year later in a court to tell what happened, I can say with confidence the exact speed and distance off the dock the vessel passed, because the vessel’s GPS reported that information to us. Those reported vessel positions simple get archived for each vessel in a way that allows me to retrieve them at any time and “replay” their transit or download all of their transmitted positions.
I believe that ultimately, both sides of the case wants the facts, and we are here to provide just that.
Jason Tieman, Director of Maritime Operations, PortVision
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