The Enemy in the Job Board

Hakai Magazine

"Starting from a list of known Russia-affiliated oil smuggling vessels kept by the nonprofit watchdog United Against Nuclear Iran, journalist Nathaniel Peutherer was able to cross reference the ships on that list against old job postings by using vessel identification numbers kept by the International Maritime Organization. The names of vessels involved in the shadow fleet are regularly changed, but their identification numbers do not vary. For cases where the ship owners hid their vessel’s identification number, Peutherer used a specific set of ship characteristics to match job postings to a particular vessel. Other vessels were confirmed directly by contacting crewing agencies. These alternative approaches make tracking vessels through their myriad identity changes somewhat possible."