News & Press: Maritime

Warning of GPS Spoofing Threat for Merchant Shipping

16 August 2019   (0 Comments)
Share |

On 7 August the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration issued a warning suggesting Iran is engaged in interfering with ships’ GPS systems as they transit near the Middle Eastern nation.

The warning said that there were reports of “spoofed bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be US or coalition warships” from merchant ships.

In an e-mail statement the US Central Command (CENTCOM) explained “Due to the heightened regional tensions, the potential for miscalculation or misidentification could lead to aggressive actions against vessels belonging to US, allied and coalition partners operating in the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman,”. CENTCOM added that a number of ships have reported communications jamming in recent weeks.


A US official told CNN that Iranian Navy and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels have spoofed merchant ship automatic identification systems to make themselves look like commercial shipping vessels.

The US believes Iran has GPS jammers operating on Abu Musa Island, an island in the Persian Gulf, that are intended to cause international ships and aircraft to inadvertently enter Iranian waters or airspace.

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) Marine Stewardship Council International (MSCI) Advisory can be found online at: https://www.maritime.dot.gov/content/2019-012-persian-gulf-strait-hormuz-gulf-oman-arabian-sea-red-sea-threats-commercial-vessels