Black box, in the science, computing, and engineering industries, could be identified as a device, system, or object with inputs or outputs but without well-understood internal structures. For vehicles, it could be referred to as a device which monitors its speed, distance traveled, and time or day you are traveling. But for Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise, Inc, it is a device which works as a transponder that tracks and monitors a boat, vessel, or an aircraft in real-time.

With uncontrolled air, sea, and land accidents happening every day, it is truly a need to address this growing issue. Only 10 of the 85 airports in the Philippines have radar capability, and out of 429 fishing ports and 821 commercial ports, only two have Vessel Traffic Management Systems. Mishaps couldn’t really be stopped by man, so another solution has been raised by FAME: to monitor a vehicle’s activities and to track its location not only using radio frequency but through the LORA technology, or Long Range Network WAN (Wide Area Network).

FAME, a private, Philippine-based company which provides trackers and monitors to small-scale vessels, now partners with USAID Oceans to be able to develop, implement, and test catch documentation and traceability (CDT) and communications technologies in the small-scale fisheries sector in the Philippines. FAME is headed by Arcelio J. Fetizanan Jr., a certified aviator, and a programming enthusiast. As a flier, he certainly sees the need for vehicles to have close communications with ground controllers, so the black box came to life.

Because of limited connectivity especially when fishermen go out in the sea, a black box could be used to transmit data from the vessel to the monitoring computers. This black box includes a software using that would enable them to gather data to create e-logbooks, and to be able to use fleet management tools. The black box would also enable fishermen to communicate to those at the shore, not only using radio frequency, but a more reliable technology such as LORA.

With the Republic Act (RA) 10654, or the Amended Fisheries Code being pushed through by Oceana Philippines, families, most especially wives of fishermen wouldn’t have to worry about his whereabouts as vessel-monitoring devices using would be required. Also, our government would be able to trace fishermen having activities in protected areas as the vessels’ locations would also be tracked.

Currently, the monthly subscription for a black box costs P800. Its transponder and installation are free of charge for a minimum subscription of three months.