A New Way to Fight Piracy on the Open Sea

06/22/2017 06:01 pm

The economic cost of maritime piracy is on the rise once again as Somali pirates resume attacks on ships and resorting to old tactics of ransoming crew for money.  The State of Maritime Policy Report 2016, released last month by Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), states the economic cost of piracy caused by groups out of Somalia increased to $1.7 billion in 2016, from $1.3 billion in 2015.

Piracy had been on a steep decline since 2010 due to increased security efforts and precautions taken aboard ships. However, in the past few years, per the OBP report, there has been decreased vigilance by the shipping community such as hiring smaller private security teams and taking less security measures aboard ships. In 2017, only halfway through the year, there have already been two hijackings including a tanker and a commercial ship.  Read the full report from OBP here: http://oceansbeyondpiracy.org/reports/sop

A solution to the rise in piracy is not just to increase the number of security personnel aboard ships, but to also outfit the ship with surveillance technology which will allow them to take the precautions necessary to avoid a conflict. Electro Optical Industries’ line of 360-degree panoramic view infrared thermal cameras, Spynel, are able to detect and track targets that could present a threat to a ship and its crew. They act as optical radars but can pick up targets that radar could not detect, such as small wooden and rigid inflatable boats up to the horizon. The Spynel cameras can successfully operate at sea state level 5/6 (rough to very rough sea) thanks to an autonomous gyro-stabilized platform and in addition to mechanical stabilization, Spynels come with a sea-specific image processing stabilization algorithm. Spynel are currently deployed on ships and at ports around the world to combat against theft, piracy, terrorism and espionage.

An optional software module enables the display AIS (Automatic Identification System) data from boats in the thermal panoramic video. The automatic thermal detections and the AIS data can be fused to generate alarms only for instance objects without AIS transmitter, like a pirate. (Requires an AIS receiver)