How it works: Risk indicators
Julie Jeon avatar
Written by Julie Jeon
Updated over a week ago

Every vessel in Starboard is assessed through a risk framework which addresses a range of issues from illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fishing to maritime security. This results in relevant risk indicators assigned to vessels which can support risk analysis for a particular vessel of interest or vessels in an area of interest (AOI). Starboard’s risk framework has been developed in collaboration with industry experts and literature.

If a vessel meets the risk criteria, the relevant risk indicator is displayed in the selected vessel panel on the map, or in the ‘Risk indicators’ section of the vessel report. Each risk indicator can be investigated further, with details about why a certain risk indicator has been assigned. An aggregated view of risk indicators associated with the fleet can also be viewed for companies.

The risk indicator framework is currently in beta and is continuously being developed. We welcome any feedback on the current set of risk indicators and their distributions, or any other risk criteria you would benefit from seeing in Starboard. Email or use the chat function for further improvements.

Distribution of risk levels

Risk indicators are categorised into themes including IUU fishing, journey, and identity. Each risk indicator has one or more relative risk level assigned as below.

Good practice

Low risk

Medium risk

High risk

IUU fishing

RFMO registrations

IUU fishing

Closely linked to IUU listed

Previously IUU listed

Currently IUU listed

IUU fishing

High seas transshipments in current journey

IUU fishing

EU IUU Register red or yellow card


Time at sea > 90 days in recent journey

Time at sea > 180 days in recent journey

Time at sea > 1 year in recent journey


Lower combined corruption perceptions index score for port visits


Different AIS and IMO details

Following this initial set, risk indicators coming soon include long time at sea, company countries and vessel flag mismatches, uneconomical behaviour, and sudden change of operation area.

Risk criteria and significance

🟢 RFMO registrations

If a vessel is registered with any of the 15 Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) around the world, and the records match the vessel details in Starboard, the relevant RFMO is shown. This indicates good practice.

🟡 🟠 🔴 IUU listed and closely linked

IUU listed vessels are those that currently or previously appear in RFMO IUU lists because they have been found to engage in IUU fishing within or near RFMO convention areas. Currently IUU listed vessels are given “high” risk, while previously listed vessels are given “medium” risk. Closely linked to IUU listed vessels are identified through a network model and are assigned a “low” risk due connection to IUU listed vessels.

🟠 High seas transshipments

This highlights if the vessel has been involved in one or more transshipment events in its current journey or since the last port of call. There is less oversight in the high seas, so these vessels may be worth investigating further.

🟡 EU IUU Register red or yellow card

This risk is assigned if the vessel’s flag state has been issued a yellow or red card under the EU IUU Register carding scheme. Yellow card means the flag is under evaluation following evidence of significant flaws within the country’s systems or lack of cooperation to combat IUU fishing. If a flag is issued a red card, imports to the EU of fish products caught by this flag are banned as the reforms have not been carried out.

🟡 🟠 🔴 Long time at sea

A vessel that has not been to port for extended periods of time indicates behaviour which may be related to safety, regulatory, or humanitarian risks. The risk can also indicate consistent non-reporting of AIS when visiting ports. A vessel’s time at sea is calculated based on the duration of its most recent journey. This is, either the last journey if the vessel is currently in port or has visited one within the last 24 hours, or otherwise it’s currently in-progress journey. If this time exceeds 90 days, 180 days, or 1 year they are assigned the increasingly higher time at sea risk indicators. The distribution of these is based on analysis of typical vessel behaviour. On average 90% of vessels will visit port within 90 days or less. We calculate the risk indicator only for vessels that have a recorded port-visit, and that have been actively reporting on AIS for at least 10% of its most recent journey.

🟡 Lower combined corruption perceptions index score for port visits

The combined corruption perceptions index (CPI) score indicates whether a vessel has a tendency to visit countries with perceived levels of public sector corruption. More visits to ports with perceived corruption results in a lower combined CPI score. The risk is assigned to a vessel if it has a combined CPI score of less than 30.

🟡 Different AIS and IMO details

Discrepancies between self-reported AIS vessel details and the IMO registration details held by S&P Global Market Intelligence may arise from human input error, malfunction, or a deliberate attempt to mislead. Vessel operators may seek to mislead authorities with incorrect AIS details to obfuscate detection while engaging in illegal activities, avoid regulations, gain competitive advantages, or due to privacy and security concerns. This risk is assigned to a vessel if there are significant differences in the name, flag, type, MMSI, IMO, or call sign fields between the AIS and IMO registration details.

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