2021 wrapped: Data-backed maritime trends of the year

Risk & Compliance

What’s inside?

    In 2020, regulators set the bar high. Stakeholders across the shipping industry had to be more stringent and so bad actors turned up their tactics. The result was new and better methods of sanctions evasion in 2021. We’ve been following it all and sharing our insights along the way. In case you missed it, here are the top five trends that we think flag registries, charterers, shipowners, and compliance teams should have on their radar for 2022 and beyond:


    As early as August 2020, just three months after OFAC published their advisories, Windward saw instances of GNSS manipulation methods. Making it undoubtedly clear that bad actors have attained technologies and know-how that have enabled them to co-opt electronic warfare manipulations that up until now were only in the hands of states. According to our research, just from Q2 of 2020 to Q2 of 2021, there has been a 5000% increase in GNSS manipulation cases. Without the ability to detect cases like these, how can stakeholders answer questions like:

    • If the vessel isn’t where it’s claiming to be then where is it? 
    • What activity is going undetected? 
    • What is the motivation behind it? 
    • Are there other vessels involved in the operation? Are the port authorities aware? Is the flag registry? Or what about the owner and insurers of the vessel? Leaving these questions unanswered can leave risk unaccounted for.

    LPG tankers

    In the world of sanctions, all eyes are on oil tankers. But LPG (liquified petroleum gas) tankers are also a prime target for bad actors. According to Bloomberg, the energy market in Asia is driving new demand for alternatives to natural gas. And they’re willing to pay top dollar. As a result, LPG purchases – including propane and butane, are expected to pick up. But due to tighter supplies, prices are hiking to unprecedented levels.

    LPG tanker risk

    What does this mean? As long as a certain market is booming, bad actors are never far behind. Our data shows that of the 78 high-risk LPG vessels, 75 have been flagged as high-risk since 2020. One possible explanation for this significant uptick is that as crude products get the most attention from regulators, other commodities are being leveraged to bring in cash.

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