Dubai impound ships suspected in cable damage

Martin Hannigan hannigan at
Wed Apr 9 16:39:20 UTC 2008

On Wed, Apr 9, 2008 at 9:23 AM, Steven M. Bellovin <smb at> wrote:
> On Wed, 9 Apr 2008 09:15:03 -0600
>  "Martin Hannigan" <hannigan at> wrote:
>  > There are a number of unique characteristics of ships including
>  > profile and radar fingerprint. I'd like to see the images from the
>  > article that was forwarded to the list.
>  >
>  There are lots of ways to identify ships.  The question is which were
>  trained on the right area at the right time -- and if the scanning was
>  done somewhat later, how can you tell which ships had been at that spot
>  then.
>  I'm not saying it can't be done; I'm just wondering how.

I'm not saying it was done. The image alone is probably out of
context. I'd venture to believe that someone was able to provide
additional evidence to cause the impound of the ships. As you say,
it's "possible" that the satellite snapped them as they were dragging
their anchor specifically in the area of the cable, but perhaps they
acquired correlating evidence such as a fingerprint from a friendly
military in the area? Military platforms record radar fingerprints and
compile them in databases after visual identification to use as
'unique identifiers'.

My original point was that it's a fairly unimpressive story. I've been
using satellite to do terrestrial surveys for networks and it's not
incomprehensible that someone could take a longshot and call a
company, find out anothers telemetry, call them, and get images
covering a specific time period as you mention. With correlating data
points, it's a compelling case.


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