Thursday, February 14, 2013

Was The Turkey UFO a Cruise Ship? Not Likely Here's Why

Was the Turkey UFO actually a cruise ship?

This post examines the theory that the Kumburgaz UFO, captured on camera over the Sea of Marmara between 2007 and 2009, was actually the bridge of a cruise ship. Some people consider this explanation ridiculous, meanwhile a handful support it. I took a closer look at this theory and came away with some interesting results. 

 There are two methods I used to check if this claim could be true.

1. Use the Moon as Reference to Measure the Unknown Object's Distance Above the Horizon - When the moon is filmed in the same frame with the unknown object it is possible to measure the UFO's altitude. If the object is too high then it would rule out a cruise ship as a possible explanation. Likewise if it matches the height of a cruise ship it would support the theory.

2. Automatic Identification System or AIS Vessel Tracking Data - This is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services for identifying and locating vessels. It is like radar for marine vessels. If a cruise ship was in the field of view at the time the video was taken then it would be listed in the database. 

This is an illustration of the object's approximate position in the sky on May 17, 2009 as it appeared from the witness location in Turkey.

 How this was determined is explained in detail below.

However supporters of the cruise ship theory such as website and claim it was a ship in the far distance just above the horizon exposing only the bridge. See the image below which was taken from their website. 

Note how poor and inaccurate's scaling is.

If that were the case the object in the video would be extremely low to the horizon (1- 2 degrees max), however it was much higher above the sea at 7.9 degrees, which viewed over a long distance away is actually a significant height. The further objects are away from the camera the smaller they appear. A cruise ship that far away, as forgotmori claims, would appear as if it were on the horizon or barely above it. The following analysis shows that the unknown object in the Turkey UFO video dated May 17, 2009 was too far above the horizon for that to be possible.

Method Used To Measure The Unknown Object's Elevation

The video contains several scenes showing the moon and the unknown object in the same series of frames. This makes it possible to do a triangulation of the Kumburgaz UFO's elevation in the night sky by using the moon's position combined with the help of astronomy software. In fact the moon can be used to measure many things in the sky. See: Calculate the altitude of an object using the moon

The May 17th segment of the 2009 footage has several minutes containing the moon and the unknown object filmed together. The clarity of video is good enough to make an accurate measurement.

 The images for this analysis were taken directly from the 2009 footage:

The first step was to determine the moon's lunar position at the time of video. For this I downloaded Stellarium an open source planetarium software that shows exactly what you see when you look up at the stars. Stellarium shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope. It allows you to rewind time and view the stars from any location. I entered the correct latitude and longitude of the witness location at the Yeni Kent Facility in Turkey for the year "2009, May 17, 3:07 am."

The software displayed the moon's degree of altitude at 12.3 degrees above the horizon when viewed from Latitude 41.041 and Longitude 28.420 on 5-17-09 at 3:07 am as shown below.

Next determine the unknown object's elevation.

Explained below:

The moon is always equal to one-half a degree or two moons would always equal one degree. This is a common method used by astronomers and sky observers. Using the moon's diameter, which never changes, I was able to calculate the approximate degree of elevation for the Kumburgaz UFO by starting at 12.3, 11.3, then 10.3 and so on.

When drawing a horizontal line at a right angle the object is approximately 7.9 degrees.
When adding an azimuth grid to a screenshot from the video the result is the same.

This is a solid indication that the unknown object in the video was much higher above the horizon than initially thought. If it were simply the top of a cruise ship seen at a great distance then the ship would be enormous in size larger than any ship ever seen sailing the earth.

The examples below demonstrate further that the unknown object was too high above the horizon at various fields of view. These illustrations were prepared with the astronomy software Stellarium. For demonstration purposes an object is inserted at 7.9 degrees elevation. The conditions are exactly as they appeared when viewed from the witness location on 5-17-09, at 3:07 am (UTC +3 Eastern European Summer Time). The zoom level decreases with each one.

Note: This analysis can be reproduced by anybody by following the same steps.

Field of View 37.2 Degrees

 At 37.2 degrees field of view the object is too high in elevation above the horizon to be the bridge of distant cruise ship.

In each of these illustrations the unknown object is shown at 7.9 degrees of elevation.

Field of View 47.3 Degrees

Still too high above the sea surface to be the bridge of a distant cruise ship.

If the object was the bridge of a cruise ship at 7.9 degrees above the horizon it would have to be this close to the camera:

But the original footage shows nothing.

 Characteristics of a cruise ship at night would include lights, windows, antenna, bow, stern, and movement as the vessel travels across the water, none of which can be seen in the original video footage and the screenshot capture shown above.

 Example of 7.9 degrees above the horizon:

The image above of the Eiffel Tower is and example of 7.9 degrees elevation. It was taken from three miles away. Since we don't know the exact distance away from the witness location of the object, the aforementioned photo is for demonstration purposes only.

 Field of View 44.7 Degrees


 Field of View 53.5 Degrees

The measurements above demonstrate that the unknown object in the Turkey UFO video was in fact too high above the sea surface to possibly be the peaking edge of a distant cruise ship as alcione and forgotmori have repeatedly claimed.

Part Two 

Check Automatic Identification Service System

Note: This part is inconclusive. AIS information services greatly improved after 2009 since the IMO made them mandatory. Unfortunately this data is from 2009 when the frequency of vessel reports were about one per hour versus in 2014 they report multiple times per hour.

The second thing I checked Is the Automatic Identification System or (AIS). The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used by vessel traffic services for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data. The International Maritime Organization requires AIS to be fitted aboard all ships of gross tonnage >= 300 for international voyages. AIS transponders automatically transmit the position and velocity of the ship at regular intervals via a VHF radio built into the AIS. The position and velocity originate from the ship’s GPS.

The website is the most well known ship tracking service although there are several. The website displays real time tracking of ship positions throughout the world, but requires a fee to access historical AIS information. They track large vessel positions such as cargo, passenger, container, oil tankers, yachts, and  cruise ships. 

AIS data recorders normally are displayed in standard UTC. For local time in Turkey add 3 hours or (UTC +3) to the time to get the correct local Turkish time.

Note: Turkey was in Eastern European Summer Time (EEST; UTC+03:00) during the 2009 sighting. (UTC) or Coordinated Universal Time or is the basis for time in many places worldwide and many timekeeping devices use this 24-hour time standard. Time zones around the world are expressed as positive or negative offsets from UTC. 

The location of the "Yeni Kent Facility" in Turkey is Latitude  41.041 Longitude  28.420. This is were the video was taken from.

The Automatic Identification System information posted below includes reports from May of 2009. Each log displays "UTC date/time","Unix UTC timestamp","lat","lon", and marine vessel call sign. The original logs are in standard UTC time. Adding 3 hours (UTC+3) to the time would be the correct local time in Turkey. Next I plotted each ship into an overhead map with Google Earth using the local time format. The time frame window used for each date corresponds to the time when the videos were taken. This should give a good overall scene of the vessel traffic in the area while the footage was taken by Yalcin Yalman in Kumburgaz.

The May 13, 2009 segment is what skeptics primarily use in their comparison to the bridge of a distant cruise ship.

To find out if this could be true I obtained AIS GPS vessel positions during the time window of 2:00 am to 5:00 am (UTC +3) which is the time period the May 13th video segment was filmed. The International Maritime Organization requires AIS beacons aboard all ships. If a cruise ship was present it would be listed.

  Coordinates Searched: N 46, S 36, W 20, E 40 

Automatic Identification System log from May 13th, 2009.
The marine tracking service I used provided the raw log of marine vessels below, which reported GPS positions on the morning of 5/13/09.

Using the GPS coordinates provided by the service the next step was to plot each one into a map to see their exact location. See below:

May 13, 2009

Map Of Ship Locations Reported To AIS Receivers
Between 2:00 am - 5:00 am UTC +3


Detailed Vessel Information And Time Logged To AIS Receiver

Each vessel identification number contains additional detail on the type of ship for example (cargo, tanker, yacht, or fishing). This information is publicly available and searchable for the public on

May 13, 2009 Vessel Information Map

On May 13th, 2009 there was one cruise ship reported as moored at 4 am in the Bosphorus Strait and not in the Sea of Marmara either at 2:20 am nor 3:58 am. There were also two passenger vessels, but neither the cruise ship nor the passenger were visible from the witness location that Yalcin was filming. See example below:

The AIS data shows NO cruise ship visible from the camera location on May 13, 2009.  There exists no evidence of a cruise ship in direction of the camera at the time.


May 15, 2009

Objects filmed from 4:59 am to 5:32 am
AIS time frame queried 4:00 am to 6:00 am (UTC +3)
Coordinates Searched  N

Automatic Identification System log from May 15th, 2009.
The marine tracking service I used provided the raw log of marine vessels below, which reported GPS positions on the morning of 5/15/09.

May 15, 2009

Map Of Ship Locations Reported To AIS Receivers
Between 4:00 am - 6:00 am UTC +3

May 15, 2009 Vessel Information Map

2 sailing vessels and 1 passenger ship were tracked between 4:00 am and 6:00 am but also in the Bosphorus Straight not visible from the witness location in the Sea of Marmara.

 The Yolcu Salonu port, in Karakoy, Turkey, serves as Istanbul's cruise ship terminal. 

The Yolcu Salonu Terminal cannot actually be seen from the witness location in Kumburgaz

It is not physically possible to view the famous Yolcu Salonu cruise port while standing at the witness location in Kumburgaz.

Stay tuned for more.....


  1. Excellent effort on the analysis. Too bad we still don't have enough information to determine with any certainty whether the object was a UFO ( alien craft ) or something manmade.

  2. Wow, thanks so much for taking the time to create this. Very thorough!

  3. a video on shows a still shot from the video superimposed over the corresponding bridge on a photo of a cruise ship. The fit is so perfect it can be nothing else. As far as I'm concerned, it's case closed.

    1. Don

      1. Alcione analyzed the wrong date
      2. AIS shipping radar data shows no cruise ship in the area at the time
      3. There are 24 separate dates which segments were taken
      4. Out of the 24 dates Alcione ignored them
      5. No witnesses saw a flying cruise ship
      6. Cruise schedules from 2009 debunk the cruise boat myth

      There are several reasons the flying cruise boat myth has been debunked.

      Perhaps you should read the article you post on before you comment.

    2. Furthermore perhaps you are not paying attention to the time code dates.

      Look at Alcione's failed attempt to debunk -- the date is May 13th
      Look at the dates in the footage from 2009 are actually May 15th and 17th.