“This is out of hand right now,” Matan Peled, co-founder of Windward and a former Israeli naval officer, said in an interview. “It’s not driven by countries or superpowers. It’s ordinary companies using this technique. The scale is astonishing.

Technology to hide a ship’s location previously available only to the world’s militaries is spreading fast through the global maritime industry as governments from Iran to Venezuela — and the rogue shipping companies they depend on to move their petroleum products — look for stealthier ways to circumvent U.S. sanctions, reports the AP’s Josh Goodman.

Windward, a maritime intelligence company whose data is used by the U.S. government to investigate sanctions violations, said that since January 2020 it has detected more than 200 vessels involved in over 350 incidents in which they appear to have electronically manipulated their GPS location.

“This is out of hand right now,” Matan Peled, co-founder of Windward and a former Israeli naval officer, said in an interview. “It’s not driven by countries or superpowers. It’s ordinary companies using this technique. The scale is astonishing.”

Peled said U.S. authorities have been slow to catch on to the spread of technology that has been part of the electronic warfare arsenal for decades but is only now cropping up in commercial shipping, with serious national security, environmental and maritime safety implications.

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