The Maritime Lexicon

The maritime domain is a highly technical space and it can be difficult to master the subtleties of the field. With this in mind, we’ve created this maritime lexicon to help you get acquainted with the ins and outs of maritime risk and decipher some important terms and vocabulary.

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AIS Gaps

AIS gaps is a term referring to a period of time when signals from an AIS transponder are not received and the vessel’s movements and position are unknown.

AIS Handshake

An AIS handshake is the use of a decoy vessel as a disguise. The dirty* vessel will assume the clean vessel’s identity as they are sailing at close proximity, while the clean vessel makes its way to its destination while dark. Upon returning, the vessels will recreate the switch, leaving the clean vessel unscathed.   *According…

AIS-Automatic Identification Systems

Automatic identification system (AIS) transponders transmit a ship’s position, identification number, and accompanying details about the ship.

Complex Ship Ownership or Management

OFAC Definition (Guidance to Address Illicit Shipping and Sanctions Evasion Practices); Global shipping is inherently complex and involves multiple interactions with both government and private sector entities. Bad actors attempt to take advantage of this complexity through the use of complex business structures, including those involving shell companies and/or multiple levels of ownership and management,…

Compliance risk management

What is compliance risk management? Compliance risk management in the maritime industry is the process of identifying, assessing, and mitigating the risks associated with non-compliance with laws, regulations, sanctions, and standards that apply to the industry. This includes risks related to crew and cargo safety, environmental protection, labor standards, and the countries where cargo is…

Counterparty Risk

What is counterparty risk? Counterparty risk, also called default risk, refers to the likelihood that a participating party in a financial transition may fail to fulfill its contractual obligations. Counterparty risks include all parties involved in a transaction and exist in investments, market conditions, exposure, lines of credit, and trading transactions.  Who is exposed to…

DAP Shipping

What is DAP Shipping?  “Delivered at Place shipping,” also known as DAP shipping, is an international trade term used to describe a deal where the ownership of a product is transferred from the seller to the buyer.  DAP shipping was first introduced as an International Commercial Term (Incoterm) in 2010 by the International Chamber of…

Dark Activity

This term refers to the situation in which a vessel’s AIS transmission signals are no longer being broadcasted or detected.

Deceptive Shipping Practices

Deceptive shipping practices are usually used to evade sanctions.

Deep Dark Activity

This term, coined by Windward, refers to vessels that conduct long periods of dark activity in correlation with vessel behavior.

Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) 

What is DDP? Delivery duty paid (DDP) is a delivery agreement where the seller (exporter) is responsible for the shipment and for all potential risks and costs, until the shipment reaches its final destination. The potential costs ”include all transportation costs, any loss due to damage during transit, and the payment of customs duties, import…

Dual Transmission

What is dual transmission? Dual transmission in the maritime industry refers to the use of multiple AIS transmitters on board a single vessel transmitting different entities with separate IMOs. This is typically used by bad actors to spoof their real location, while participating in illicit activities or deceptive shipping practices.  Dual transmission is an illegal…


What is ESG? ESG is a general term that stands for environmental, social, and governance. A company with a high ESG score typically invests resources that positively impact its surroundings. Understanding exactly what ESG is can have a significant effect on a company. Even though it may not appear on financial reports, it creates accountability…

ETA Prediction

The estimated time of arrival (ETA) is the time when a ship, vehicle, aircraft, cargo, emergency service, or person is expected to arrive at a certain place. ETA Prediction refers to the ability to forecast the time of arrival based on different prediction models. Windward had developed an ETA prediction model that enables to accurately…

Energy Risk Management

What is energy risk management? Energy risk management minimizes the risks involved in the movement or shipment of energy commodities. Managing risks associated with the energy industry is becoming increasingly complex, due to various factors, such as sanctions, evolving deceptive shipping practices, and world events. Energy risk management means determining, assessing, and prioritizing risks associated…

Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD)

What is enhanced due diligence (EDD)? Enhanced due diligence (EDD) is a process used in the maritime industry to identify and reduce potential risks related to compliance, fraud, and money laundering. Enhanced due diligence involves conducting a thorough background check of a company’s operations, financial status, and reputation to ensure they are compliant with relevant…

FOB Shipping

What is FOB shipping? Freight on Board (FOB) is an international commercial term (Incoterms®) indicating the point where costs of shipping and liability of goods transfers from the seller to the buyer. The term, which was defined as part of the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC), is the most common agreement when shipping internationally.  The…

Financial Crime Risk

Fraud, corruption, money laundering, and sanctions violations are all examples of risks that have the potential to cause financial and reputational damage to organizations.

Flag Hopping

Flag hopping was defined by OFAC as “repeatedly registering with new flag states to avoid detection.” But registration changes are also commonly used as a legitimate financial tactic, making it difficult to label as an illicit activity. This makes malicious flag hopping well-concealed in a sea of legitimate flag hopping. 

Flag of Convenience

This term refers to flags other than the one belonging to a ship owner’s flag state. Owners will often register with a flag of convenience to take advantage of lower taxes, reduced regulation, or administrative fees.

Freight Transport

What is freight transport? Freight transport is the movement of goods from one place to another. Common freight includes commercial goods, commodities, and merchandise in bulk.  “The main transport mode for global trade is ocean shipping: around 90% of traded goods are carried over the waves. As such, the oceans provide the main transport arteries…

Global Navigation Satellite System

GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) is a term refers to a group of satellites that transmit positioning and timing data to GNSS receivers.

IUU fishing

What is IUU fishing? Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing refers to fishing activities carried out in violation of local or international laws and regulations, without proper reporting or oversight. These activities can include fishing in protected areas, using prohibited gear, or catching protected species. IUU fishing can negatively impact fish stocks and marine ecosystems,…

Identity Tampering

According to C4ADS, identity tampering is the deliberate falsification of a vessel’s broadcasted data on AIS and/or alterations to its physical features, to misrepresent its identity.

Insolvency Risk

The likelihood that a company will be unable to meet its debt obligations and therefore bankrupts. Insolvency risk is a measurement representing the probability of a company becoming insolvent as a result of its inability to service its debt. Investors often consider a firm’s insolvency risk prior to making equity or bond investment decisions. Firms…

Just In Time (JIT)

What is just-in-time (JIT) for logistics?  In transportation and freight, just-in-time (JIT) refers to an inventory control system that manages the material flow into assembly and manufacturing plants by coordinating demand and supply so desired materials arrive “just-in-time.”  “When first developed in Japan in the 1970s, the idea of just-in-time (JIT) marked a radical new…

KYV™ (Know Your Vessel)

KYV is a term coined by Windward to describe the process of vetting vessels for sanctions risk.

List Screening

Organizations use list screening tools to vet customers against sanctions, watchlists, politically exposed persons (PEPs) and adverse media lists.

Location Tampering (GNSS)

Location tampering – global navigation satellite system manipulation – is the use of a machine-generated location/path to disguise the true location of the vessel. Multiple methods have been identified to carry out this deception, including false transmission onboard the vessel and third-party onshore accomplices.

Maritime Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Maritime AI is a term for machine learning models uniquely attuned to maritime nuances and data.

Maritime Domain Awareness

“In May 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden announced the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA), an initiative with regional partners and allies to promote a free and open Pacific. The IPMDA intends to connect regional partners and allies with American technologies to provide greater maritime situational awareness in real-time,” as reported by The Diplomat. …

Maritime Law Enforcement

Conflicts, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, combined with the technological advancement of bad actors, have placed a burden on maritime law enforcement bodies. Criminals have progressed beyond merely disabling their automatic identification systems (“dark activity”), so maritime law enforcement agencies are now coping with sophisticated methods, such as GNSS spoofing, ID tampering, zombie vessels, and…

Maritime Risk Intelligence

What is maritime risk intelligence? Many risks have emerged in the maritime ecosystem, involving the vessel, crew, and/or cargo. Maritime risk intelligence, which includes a combination of maritime data and domain expertise, can help predict these potential maritime risks and protect your business, or organization. Actionable maritime intelligence is key to enhancing compliance risk management,…

Maritime Trade

What is Maritime Trade? Maritime trade is the transport of goods overseas between two countries. It is a low-cost, efficient method of transporting items manufactured, grown, or mined from one country to another and is an essential ingredient in the growth of the world’s economy and in developing nations.  In today’s economy, 80 percent of…

OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) Advisories

The OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) advisories aim to help enforce economic and trade sanctions against certain regimes, sectors, entities, or individuals.

OTIF Supply Chain

What is Supply Chain OTIF?  On-time, in-full (OTIF) is a key supply chain metric. It measures a supplier’s ability to have goods delivered to their distribution centers, often via freight transport, on time and at the full quantities ordered. OTIF shows the supplier’s ability to deliver on its promise and build trust with buyers. In…

Oil Smuggling

Oil smuggling is a tactic that sanction evaders use to turn a profit from oil exports that U.S. sanctions designate as illicit.

Physical Alteration of Vessel Identification

According to the OFAC Definition (Guidance to Address Illicit Shipping and Sanctions Evasion Practices): Passenger ships of 100 Gross Tonnage (GT) and upwards and cargo ships of 300 GT and upwards are required to display their name and IMO number in a visible location on the vessel’s hull or superstructure. A vessel’s IMO number is…

Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms

What is a real-time transportation visibility platform? Real-time visibility is essential for live tracking a shipment through its complete lifecycle. It accounts for numerous issues that can affect the estimated time of arrival (ETA), such as weather delays, customs issues, and traffic.  A real-time transportation visibility platform provides these updates. It collects data from the…

SDN List

The SDN (Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons) list is OFAC’s list of individuals and companies whose assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with.

Sanctions Screening

What is sanctions screening? Sanctions screening is the process of checking whether an individual or entity is listed on a sanctions list, or watchlist. These lists are compiled by governments and recognized international organizations to identify individuals or entities subject to financial sanctions, or other restrictions, as a result of their actions or associations. Working…

Ship-to-Ship (STS) Meetings

When two ships meet at sea. The encounter might be for fueling, transshipments of cargo such as oil or fish, to change crew, let a pilot on board, and more.

Supply Chain Visibility

What is Supply Chain Visibility?  Supply chain visibility is the ability to track every part of the supply chain journey. Modern-day supply chains are extremely complex and difficult to track, with a diverse supplier network around the world. Supply chain visibility is critical for logistics professionals, freight forwarders, and any organization that needs to track…

Three Lines of Defense

Three Lines of Defense is an effective internal auditing model designed to offer a framework for improved control across an organization by developing a greater understanding of the risks and controls. This identifies and articulates the collection of risks and controls, and appropriately allocates the ownership and performance to these across various ‘lines of defense’,…

UN Panel of Experts

The Panel was established in 2009 to conduct sanctions assessments and recommendations for the Security Council.

Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO)

What is a UBO? Ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) is a legal term for the person that owns or controls a legal entity, such as a ship. This person is the one that ultimately profits from each transaction, even if they aren’t documented as the legal owner.   It isn’t always easy to determine who the ultimate…

Vessel Tracking

What is vessel tracking? Vessel tracking is the ability to track, identify, and monitor a ship’s location and map the full details of the entire route. GPS pinpoints the vessel’s location in the water, which is essential for tracking bad actors, and for the ship to navigate. Other systems, such as the ship’s automatic identification…

Vessel Vetting

What is vessel vetting? Vessel vetting is a process of evaluating and assessing the suitability of a vessel for a particular purpose, such as carrying a certain type of cargo, or operating in a specific region. This evaluation typically involves a review of the vessel’s technical and operational characteristics, and its safety and compliance record….

Voyage Irregularities

The OFAC Definition (Guidance to Address Illicit Shipping and Sanctions Evasion Practices) Malign actors may attempt to disguise the ultimate destination or origin of cargo or recipients by using indirect routing, unscheduled detours, or transit or transshipment of cargo through third countries. Although transit and transshipment are common in the global movement of goods, private…

What is freight on board (FOB)?

Freight on Board (FOB) is an international commercial term (Incoterm®) indicating the point where costs of shipping and liability of goods transfers from the seller to the buyer. The term, which was defined as part of the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC), is the most common agreement when shipping internationally.  The FOB, also known as…

Zombie Vessels

Zombie vessels are vessels that were scrapped yet ‘reappear’ somewhere later on.