The US government is pressing ships to keep their satellite tracking online as tension in the Middle East Gulf mounts.

Authorities has held public and private meetings with "countries and shippers" stressing the need for, among other things, keeping their automatic identification systems (AIS) on in an effort to ensure transparency, Reuters reported Monday.

“There is absolutely no reason, aside from a ship being off the coast of Somalia, where there are piracy issues, for a ship to turn off its AIS,” a senior State Department official told the news wire.