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After some trial and error the most practical solution turned out to be: Use a shape file of all world countries, add the Suez and Panama canal manually using software like QGIS, add the ice of the arctic and Antarctica using shapefiles as well. This gives you a map of all the places a ship can go. I left out the inland waterways in the end. However these ...
One of the best sources for open-source vector and raster map data is Natural Earth. There is a variety of data available at large, medium and small scale. You would likely need the Ports dataset available from 1:10m Cultural Vectors and the Rivers, Lake Centerlines available from 1:50m Physical Vectors.
The company I work for has a geocoding tool called YAddress. It can be deployed locally on your own hardware, in which case your data never leaves the server and never travels over the internet.
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