Monitoring systems, early warning and deterrent technology have not been available to address the shipping security issues at a remotely affordable cost.
As a result, there has been an uneasy acceptance that in certain parts of the world, piracy, hijacking or theft are facts of commercial life.
A ship is often highly secure while in a port, being physically protected and under close surveillance, but once outside they are a relatively soft target for bands of organised and often dangerous criminals.
The theft of high value, high risk products in transit cost businesses over $11.1 billion a year, according to recent European Union figures.
Since the terrorist attacks on New York on September 11, 2001, the threat of terrorism has also loomed large over the transport sector. Oil rigs’ isolation means they face similar threats.
There were no fewer than 49 piracy incidents in the first quarter of 2014, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), an offshoot of the International Chamber of Commerce focussed on fighting maritime crime.
Maria Andersson, at FOI, the Swedish Defence Research Agency and Technical Co-ordinator for ARENA describes how the basis for a solution to the problem has been developed through the ARENA (Architecture for Recognition of thrEats to mobile assets using Networks of Affordable sensors) research and development project which is part-funded by the European Commission’s FP7 Security Research Programme.
Dr. Andersson explains how the generic surveillance system that has been developed could provide robust, proactive threat detection and recognition, while being able to differentiate between real threats and false alarms across a range of environments using an affordable system of sensors.
ARENA’s innovative combination of existing surveillance technology provides autonomous monitoring and situational awareness of the environment surrounding critical mobile assets, alerting personnel to threats.
In achieving this goal it has the potential to fill the yawning security gap between harbours, depots and garages, currently a cash cow for criminals and potentially a loophole exploited by terrorists.
ARENA addresses the design of a flexible surveillance system for detection and recognition of threats towards deployment on mobile critical assets/platforms such as trucks, trains, vessels, and oil rigs. The objective of ARENA is to develop methods for automatic detection and recognition of threats, based on multisensory data analysis.
Research objectives include:
- To robustly and autonomously detect threats to critical mobile assets in large unpredictable environments.
- To reduce number and impact of false alarms towards optimized decision making.
- To demonstrate automatic threat detection for the land case (truck).
- To demonstrate an integrated, scalable and easy to deploy monitoring system.
- To assess automated threat detection for the land case (train) and the maritime case (vessel, oil rig).
- To evaluate detection performance and contribute to standards.
- To respect and respond to social, legal and ethical issues arising through the design, implementation and deployment. ARENA will investigate different platforms including trucks, trains, vessels, and oil rigs (with the real demonstration focused on trucks).
June 2, 2014