• Anti high-seas piracy coalition launches public campaign

    2,000 Somali pirates are hijacking the world’s economy” — this is the motto of a new coalition of maritime transportation organization which has launched a public campaign to encourage governments to take more active measures to tackle high-seas piracy; the Save Our Seafarers campaign has a Web site and will take out ads in leading world newspapers

  • Authors suggest ways to alleviate L.A. cargo port "constipation"

    In January, the port of Los Angeles received more than 330,000 containers; the possibility that one of those 330,000 containers could have contained a dirty bomb, or worse, keeps security experts up at night; experts say that to ensure security and prevent logjams, the best approach to container security would be to replace the current system, which singles out only those containers whose documentation raises questions, with a system which will see terminal operators X-ray every container, regardless of its eventual destination; only those containers flagged during the low-level scan would be subjected to a more thorough search

  • NYPD's combat vessel will thwart Mumbai-like attacks

    To prevent a Mumbai-like attack in New York, the NYPD will be getting a high-speed combat vessel; the 71-foot craft, which can hit speeds of 40 knots and will be able to carry up to thirty police officers fully armed with heavy weapons; the high-speed boat will be outfitted with radiation detection equipment and infrared cameras, as well as a satellite communication facilities

  • New radar improves pirate threat detection

    New maritime radar helps protects ships again pirates; the radar is effective in detecting small targets, especially in high levels of rain and sea clutter, and it automatically alerts watch keepers about craft displaying hostile behavior patterns

  • Securing America's ports

    Each year roughly $3 trillion worth of goods enters into the United States via water and more than 90 percent of the world’s cargo travels by sea making ports a prime target for terrorist organizations; it was not until the after 9/11 that port security became a top priority; the Port of Long Beach handles 40 to 45 percent of all the goods that enter the United States; to secure the 3,200 acre Port of Long Beach, the port has added a sophisticated series of security measures in recent years; a senior official from the Port of Long Beach will be speaking at a panel at the upcoming ISC West Conference to discuss port security strategy and interagency coordination

  • New association for maritime security industry formed

    Maritime security consultant Peter Cook recently announced the formation of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI); SAMI will help establish rules and regulations in the fledgling maritime security industry; the maritime security industry has grown rapidly in recent years, but has suffered from lack of regulation and rapid expansion; the industry’s reputation has been tarnished with incidents of hired security firms abandoning ships when pirates attack leading to long periods of captivity for the ship’s crew; to prevent these incidents from occurring and to uphold the reputation of the industry, SAMI will vet maritime security companies, establish standards, and ensure that its members comply with established standards

  • Coast Guard works to prevent rising mission-related deaths

    Admiral Robert Papp, the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), announced that the service is conducting a comprehensive review and may eliminate certain missions and capabilities, in light of the sharp increase of mission related deaths; in the past two years, fourteen Coast Guard aviators and one Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) member have died in accidents that occurred during routine missions; Admiral Papp is concerned that service members are overburdened by training for too many different skill sets and have had inadequate time to master them; since 9/11 USCG has added missions and capabilities without a corresponding increase in service personnel; Papp cites a helicopter crash in July 2010 that killed three aviators as evidence; the crash occurred during a routine mission in which the team was flying from Astoria, Oregon to Sitka, Alaska

  • Mobile biometric screening technology for seaports years away

    A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is still years away from implementing handheld biometric screening devices electronically to verify passengers entering the United States aboard ships; approximately five million people arrive in the United States by sea each year; CBP agents currently conduct inspections aboard ships and lack access to databases to verify passports, travel documents, or passenger information and report their findings which has led to incorrect and untimely updates to national databases; DHS has made procurement of these devices a “high priority,” but believes it will be years before they can be implemented aboard ships; the primary challenge is remotely linking the mobile devices to databases in the maritime environment

  • Pirate attack prediction model developed

    A mathematician has developed a piracy prediction model based on wind, waves, currents, as well as on the ground intelligence that could help predict the probability of a pirate attack on a given day; the system would function like a tornado warning system using weather data to project high risk areas on a map; the map could be further refined by adding in real time shipping traffic to indicate which ships are most likely to be attacked; piracy has grown worse in the last year, despite stepped up naval patrols; 80 percent of the world’s cargo still travels by sea

  • Saracen, another Erik Prince company, in trouble in Somalia

    Despite claims to the contrary, Erik Prince, the founder and owner of the private military company Xe, formally known as Blackwater Worldwide, is part of the management team of another troubled security firm — Saracen; the Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) signed a contract with Saracen calling on the company to maintian peace, security, and stability in the country — only for UN and African union observers to realize that the company signed a separate security-related agreement with the separatist Puntland region in the north, in violation of the UN arms embargo

  • Port of L.A. heist raises questions about port security

    The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex uses the latest — together with the simplest — technology in trying to prevent weapons of mass destruction from being smuggled through the port. Among these means used: a $3 million high-tech screening ship, a radiation-detecting helicopter and a badge-carrying black Labrador retriever that can sniff out chemical and biological weapons; all these security measures, and more, could not prevent an old-fashion heist of cargo containers from the port; the damage to the companies involved aside, the ease with which garden variety robbers could enter the port, over-power security guards, and leave with three large trailers raises questions about what more sophisticated terrorist might be able to do

  • FSU spin-off contributes to U.S. ports protection

    With 2.5 billion tons of cargo worth more than $2 trillion passing through U.S. seaports each year, the maritime transportation industry is critical to the U.S. economy, and security is a constant concern; a massive training curriculum is designed by Florida State University (FSU) researchers to promote the security of the nation’s 350 commercial ports is about to enter the marketplace.

  • U.S. Navy buys sensor system from FLIR to protect ships from terrorist attacks

    U.S. Navy ship systems designers needed electro-optical sensor systems for the Shipboard Protection System (SPS), which helps protect Navy surface vessels from terrorist attacks while moored to piers, at anchor, or during restricted maneuvering; they found their solution from Wilsonville, Oregon-based FLIR Systems

  • Securing the global supply chain is daunting task

    The global supply chain consists of 140 million shipping containers; the United States has 12,000 miles of coastline, making it hard to funnel cargo through a limited number of entrances; currently, security officials inspect only 6 percent of all cargo coming into the United States; one security experts says: “If you double that, we still have a long way to go— If you triple that, we still have a long way to go”

  • Rescue 21 bolsters Coast Guard's search-and-rescue capablilities

    Rescue 21 is already covering portions of the U.S. coastline and, as of last week, officially includes the coasts of Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and the upper Chesapeake Bay