With maritime piracy seen on the rise once again, the
shipping industry now looks to redouble its efforts to prevent
these dangerous and costly attacks.
Though piracy had been on a steep decline since 2010 due to
increased security efforts and precautions taken aboard ships,
The State of Maritime Policy Report 2016 released last month by
Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) finds that there has been decreased
vigilance by the shipping community during the past few years,
including hiring smaller private security teams and taking less
security measures aboard ships.
Now halfway through 2017 there have already been two hijackings
including a tanker and a commercial ship, as Somali pirates
resumed attacks on ships and resorted to old tactics of ransoming
crew for money.
This uptick in pirate activity brings with it an increased cost
for shipping. The economic cost of piracy caused by groups out of
Somalia has increased to $1.7 billion in 2016, up from $1.3
billion in 2015, according to the OBP report.
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, said Electro
Optical Industries, whose Spynel line of 360-degree panoramic
view infrared thermal cameras are able to detect and track
targets that could present a threat to a ship and its crew.
Electro Optical Industries said its Spynel products are currently
deployed on ships and at ports around the world to combat against
theft, piracy, terrorism and espionage.
The cameras 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 thanks to an autonomous
gyro-stabilized platform and in addition to mechanical
stabilization, Spynels come with a sea-specific image processing
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 (this requires an AIS receiver).