Created a new email service which might just be useful to other cruisers.
In brief, vessels equipped with DSC (Digital Selective Calling) radios are assigned an MMSI (Marine Mobile Service Identity). The ITU (International Telecommunications Union) provide a database of all MMSIs together with some ship details searchable by vessel name or MMSI. The new email service does this lookup and emails back the results.
I envisage two use cases for this service, both for yachts with onboard email via SSB radio. You may want to find out more about a vessel, identified by MMSI, appearing on the AIS display or you may want to find the MMSI for a vessel whose name you know so that you can call via DSC.
There is also a simplified HTML interface which might be more suitable for mobile phones than the ITU interface - now if only I had a smart phone to test it on :-(
Details on Ship data service
Data quality is a real issue here - it's interesting to see a public data set in which your own data is included. The data held for our yacht Aremiti is not up-to-date (we have MF, Radar and EPIRB now) and the quality of data such as Gross Tonnage is very variable - here it is the Registered Tonnage, quite different from the unladen displacement of the boat which is clearly what other owners of the same marque have used. It matters because port dues are sometimes based on tonnage.
I only hope I dont have to use this service in a hurry. End-to-end response time is about a minute, but I still think its impressive to be able to get this data at all in the middle of an ocean.