CO, CH4, N2O and CO2 were retrieved from high resolution solar absorption spectra obtained during a ship cruise from Capetown to Bremerhaven in January/February 2003 by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Precisions of better than 0.5% for the column averaged volume mixing ratios (VMR) of CH4 and CO2 are achieved using of O2 as a reference gas. Shipborne FTIR-measurements of CO and data from SCIAMACHY/ENVISAT retrieved by the Weighting Function Modified Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (WFM-DOAS) retrieval algorithm show qualitatively the same latitudinal variations. WFMDOAS data of CH4, N2O and CO2 measured over sea exhibit a great spread. The spread is significantly reduced for satellite measurements over land and a reasonable agreement can be obtained if the shipborne data are compared with the closest SCIAMACHY measurements over land. The number of comparisons is too small to draw conclusions. However, by including only WFM-DOAS data with small errors the shipborne and WFM-DOAS data compare within 5% for CH4 and CO2 and within 30% for N2O.