US warns on Med and Red Sea GPS disruptions

Malcolm Latarche
Malcolm Latarche
ShipInsight

09 November 2018


Ongoing problems with GPS have caused the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) to issue a new warning for ships and aircraft.

In its latest (2018-014-GPS) MARAD says “Multiple instances of significant GPS interference continue to be reported by vessels and aircraft operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. These reports have been concentrated near Port Said, Egypt, the Suez Canal, and in the vicinity of the Republic of Cyprus. Additional instances of similar interference were reported in October 2018 near Jeddah Port, Saudi Arabia. This interference is resulting in lost or otherwise altered GPS signals affecting bridge navigation, GPS-based timing and communications equipment.

MARAD urges GPS users to exercise caution when transiting these areas and advises that the USCG Navigation Center (NAVCEN) and NATO Shipping Center websites contain information regarding effective navigation practices for vessels experiencing GPS interference. The information reaffirms safe navigation practices when experiencing possible GPS disruption, provides useful details on reporting possible GPS disruption, and is intended to generate further discussions within the maritime community about other disruption mitigation practices and procedures. This guidance also recommends taking note of critical information such as the location (latitude/longitude), date/time, and duration of the outage/disruption, and providing photographs or screen shots of equipment failures during a disruption to facilitate analysis. The NAVCEN information is available at: https://go.usa.gov/xQBaU.

GPS disruptions or anomalies should be immediately reported to the NAVCEN or via phone at 703-313-5900, 24 hours a day. The NATO Shipping Center has requested that instances of GPS interference also be reported to them using the format on their Cyber Interference link.