Russian Sub Hits Royal Navy Frigate

It is being reported that in late 2020 a Russian submarine hit the Royal Navy Frigate HMS Northumberland. The incident occurred in the Artic Sea as the HMS Northumberland tracked the submarine while filming a spot for a popular British television show, “Warship: Life at Sea”.


The Submarine reportedly inadvertently hit the ship’s sonar equipment which trails far behind it. The incident was captured by the film crew as it happened. The UK defense community says the incident was not likely intentional.

The towed array sonar, a long tube fitted with hydrophones is used for listening in the water, trails the ship by hundreds of meters. A periscope was seen and the collision occurred. A person onboard the frigate is heard saying, “What the hell was that?”.

One Hundred Rohingya Refugees Allowed to Land in Indonesia

A boat with 100 Rohingya refugees was adrift with the boat sinking off the coast of Indonesia in Late December. The group was allowed to land and leave the boat on Friday, December 31. The action came after intense international pressure to allow them to seek refuge. The Indonesian authorities relented after the international scrutiny.

The group consisted mostly of women and children. The people were crammed into the wooden boat with a sail crafted of canvas. Fierce rain and wind in the area exacerbated the boat’s situation. The Indonesian navy towed the boat, which was damaged, to shore. As the people disembarked, they were sprayed with disinfectant. The group was at sea for 28 days.

Maritime Partners Acquires J. Russell Flowers Portfolio

Maritime Partners Acquires J. Russell Flowers Portfolio

Maritime Partners, through its managed funds, has acquired from J. Russell Flowers and its affiliates (JRF), a diversified portfolio of more than 1,000 marine vessels operating on bareboat charter. JRF’s fleet includes a variety of towboats, tank barges, hopper barges, and deck barges.

With this acquisition, Maritime Partners’ portfolio has grown to approximately 1,600 vessels with an estimated fair market value of $1.2billion, making the firm the largest lessor of marine equipment in the United States.

J. Russell Flowers was founded by Russell Flowers in 1994 and has grown to become one of the nation’s largest independent leasing companies of inland marine barges and towboats. Jill Flowers, chairman and CEO of J. Russell Flowers, said, “We congratulate Maritime Partners on the successful completion of this acquisition and wish Bick and Austin great success. I’m confident that Russell’s legacy and vision for the future will be furthered by this transaction. I also wish to thank our many valued customers who supported us for so many years.”

“We are thrilled to complete the acquisition of the JRF portfolio. With this transaction, we’ll expand and diversify our fleet, enhancing our product offering as a one-stop solution for all marine equipment requirements,” said Bick Brooks, co-founder and CEO of Maritime Partners.

Austin Sperry, co-founder and COO of Maritime Partners, noted “Six years ago we established a vision to become the leading equipment provider to the domestic marine industry. This acquisition represents the culmination of our vision.”

IFOA

IFOA Partnering with Osprey

The International Flight Operations Academy (Virtual Operator Trainers Ready Sailors for the High-End Fight (Cont’d pg. 10)) has begun a new collaboration with Osprey Flight Solutions, to enhance their training program through the use of Osprey‘s unique data-led risk management system.

Operating from their headquarters in Switzerland, IFOA provides world-class customized training for aviation professionals, with an extensive portfolio of flight operations training programs, consulting services, and strategic solutions for both individuals and organizations. IFOA aims to ensure that everyone working within flight operations achieves the highest possible level of competencies to carry out their duties and responsibilities safely and effectively.

By seamlessly integrating cutting-edge technology with world-class human analysis, Osprey Flight Solutions delivers the most powerful resource in the industry for understanding the risks in the global aviation operating environment. By using every tool, technique and technology available, Osprey provides instantaneous access to global analysis, intelligence, information and data on the aviation security environment.

With the aligned common goal of improving flight safety and security across the industry, the partnership between IFOA and Osprey will enable training participants to discover the most efficient and effective methods of risk identification, assessment and evaluation, enhancing their situational awareness of the aviation operating environment.

COASTAL SURVEILLANCE BECOMES INCREASINGLY INNOVATIVE

COASTAL SURVEILLANCE BECOMES INCREASINGLY INNOVATIVE

Coastal surveillance is a critical function to ensure the security of a nation. Given the specific challenges to maritime security that countries face, there are increasingly innovative ways in which technology has been deployed to address these issues. In this first part of a multi-part story on coastal surveillance, we have reached out to industry experts to assess the challenges and maritime security risks faced by countries worldwide and how systems are developing to provide increased oversight and control of the sea borders.

According to a spokesperson for Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS), maritime surveillance is a global challenge with 90% of the world’s trade goods transported by sea. “With growing threats from piracy and hijacking as well as trafficking and illegal activities, the effective monitoring of our oceans is critical,” says Airbus DS.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge offloaded approximately 1,700 kilograms of seized cocaine at Coast Guard Base San Juan, following the disruption of a go-fast vessel smuggling attempt by Coast Guard and British Virgin Islands authorities near Anegada, British Virgin Islands. The seized cocaine has an estimated wholesale value of approximately $51 million. The disruption and seizure are the result of multi-agency efforts involving the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.   U.S. Coast Guard photo
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge offloaded approximately 1,700 kilograms of seized cocaine at Coast Guard Base San Juan, following the disruption of a go-fast vessel smuggling attempt by Coast Guard and British Virgin Islands authorities near Anegada, British Virgin Islands. The seized cocaine has an estimated wholesale value of approximately $51 million. The disruption and seizure are the result of multi-agency efforts involving the Caribbean Border Interagency Group and the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force.
U.S. Coast Guard photo

Maritime borders pose very specific, complex, and nuanced challenges for governments around the world, according to Jorge Ramirez, managing director for the Americas of Travizory Border Security. “However, the majority of countries do not have the right tools — whether that be human resources, technology, skills or time — to properly oversee and protect their marine territory effectively,” he says. “From cruise ships and leisure yachts to cargo ships, fishing vessels and other private boats — the sheer variety of travelers, operators and vessels makes navigating sovereign waters incredibly difficult and the size of many countries’ marine territory can be unwieldy.”

Thales is developing drones like this one for use in infrastructure inspection, coastal surveillance, border surveillance, event security, search-and-rescue and military operations. Thales image.
Thales is developing drones like this one for use in infrastructure inspection, coastal surveillance, border surveillance, event security, search-and-rescue and military operations. Thales image.

New risks arise almost overnight, from piracy to drug trafficking, observes Ramirez. “Without a comprehensive security system to anticipate and adapt to these sophisticated threats, countries are left vulnerable and unable to take appropriate action against risks such as illegal fishing, illegal immigration, and smuggling of contraband,” he says. “The past two years have also shown how important border security can be in the fight against the pandemic, as secure maritime borders are a keyway to minimize the risk from infected individuals who plan to disembark at the destination country.”

Security Challenges and Risks

HGH’s Wide Area Surveillance solution based on SPYNEL Panoramic Thermal cameras and CYCLOPE Image processing and data analysis software enables coastal awareness with real-time 360-degree thermal videos.HGH say they guarantee detection, tracking and identification of multiple threats including wooden boats and swimmers.
HGH’s Wide Area Surveillance solution based on SPYNEL Panoramic Thermal cameras and CYCLOPE Image processing and data analysis software enables coastal awareness with real-time 360-degree thermal videos.HGH say they guarantee detection, tracking and identification of multiple threats including wooden boats and swimmers.

Aymeric de Cagny, naval business developer at HGH, observes that in relation to maritime security, most of the concerned countries are currently facing risks such as illegal trafficking (drugs especially), illegal immigration with possible shipwrecks, and intrusion into ports or naval bases,or into critical infrastructures. “Our systems are designed to improve the surveillance of maritime borders, thanks to panoramic systems like thermal radars with video analytics capabilities,” he says.

According to a spokesperson for Thales, the nature of conflict has been constantly shifting from intra-state wars in the post-Cold War era to asymmetric threats at the turn of the 21st century.

“Threats may be coming from swarms of fast manned and unmanned surface boats, from submarines and unmanned underwater vessels, and from manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, in different combinations. Carrying any type of mission in such complex environments can therefore be very risky for forward deployed assets,” says Thales.

Traditionally, territorial waters are monitored by Navy or Coast Guard vessels designated to perform surveillance and reconnaissance missions, affirms Ramirez. “However, the number of available policing vessels are often limited and therefore can be limited in effectiveness against ever evolving and increasingly sophisticated enemies,” he says.

A volunteer lifeguard assists migrants out of their boat after they landed on the Greek island of Lesbos, near the town of Skala Sikamineas. The coastline of Turkey is visible on the right side of the photo. Joel Carillet image.
A volunteer lifeguard assists migrants out of their boat after they landed on the Greek island of Lesbos, near the town of Skala Sikamineas. The coastline of Turkey is visible on the right side of the photo. Joel Carillet image.

Innovative Technologies

Recognizing current vulnerability, countries around the world have started focusing on upgrading their maritime security capability, and this has included investing in innovative technologies to tackle current threats, affirms Ramirez. “More and more we are seeing the use of GPS satellites around the world, providing accurate vessel location and tracking while richer nations are embracing satellites to perform reconnaissance of unidentified vessels with radars and extremely powerful cameras,” he says.

Indeed, to protect their crews, capabilities and borders, armed forces have increased investment to strengthen target detection, identification, and surveillance, affirms Thales. “Multi-role helicopters — smaller, lighter than their combat counter-parts — but also, increasingly, small intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, including unmanned systems, are now at the forefront of these missions where every kilogram on the platform counts,” says Thales.

Airbus says their product STYRIS is designed to align with international conventions and laws that define the duties of states in the maritime domain of their different areas of responsibility (EEZ, Coastal Areas, Ports and Waterways). Airbus images.
Airbus says their product STYRIS is designed to align with international conventions and laws that define the duties of states in the maritime domain of their different areas of responsibility (EEZ, Coastal Areas, Ports and Waterways). Airbus images.

The heart of target detection, identification and surveillance missions is the ability to operate in any type of environment and in any weather conditions, according to Thales. “From illegal fishing to piracy and smuggling, national authorities must be able to keep a close watch on their waters, any time and in any weather conditions not only to ensure exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but also ensure homeland security at sea,” says Thales.

STYRIS automatically displays vessel information gathered by different sensors and sources of information on screen. Vessels which do not follow procedures, or small/fast moving boats, will require more attention and you can alert patrols for further investigation if deemed as suspicious.
STYRIS automatically displays vessel information gathered by different sensors and sources of information on screen. Vessels which do not follow procedures, or small/fast moving boats, will require more attention and you can alert patrols for further investigation if deemed as suspicious.

Usual means of surveillance, such as patrol vessels and aircraft, are becoming an increasingly limited resource particularly when often large-scale areas need to be monitored, observes Airbus DS.

“Satellite systems provide complementary information to optimize the cost of operations at sea and enable much larger areas to be effectively monitored,” Airbus DS says.

A peculiarity of satellite imagery and derived services and systems is that they have no geographical limitations, points out Airbus DS. “They can monitor and acquire imagery and intelligence from both onshore and offshore in national territories and beyond, providing full situational awareness,” Airbus DS says. “With the benefit of not only being cost-effective, satellite technology can also provide near real-time insight to support emergency situations and operations — with imagery being made available within just a few hours of tasking. The mix of optical and radar information can enable effective monitoring offering the ideal combination between coverage and resolution.”

“Satellite systems provide complementary information to optimize the cost of operations at sea and enable much larger areas to be effectively monitored,” Airbus DS says.

Concerning weather, coastlines are famous for their frequently changing weather, highlights Thales. “Sunshine, rain, wind and storms can often all take place within the space of a day, affecting not only skies but also sea states. The disadvantage of the X band is that it is particularly sensitive to rain, which degrades the detection range of radars operating in this band,” says Thales. “To address this, our CoastWatcher 100 features antenna polarization switching. By enabling operators to choose between linear and circular polarisation, we ensure that the CoastWatcher 100 continues to deliver optimal surface detection, whatever the weather.”

Debris is shown here from the remnants of refugees’ flimsy boats used to illegally enter Italy via the Sicilian coastline.
Debris is shown here from the remnants of refugees’ flimsy boats used to illegally enter Italy via the Sicilian coastline.

New Features

The past few years have seen the capabilities of countries, and private companies, advance with major developments in vessel tracking and location technology, affirms Ramirez.

“These solutions are being leveraged in incredibly innovative and unique ways around the world and we are seeing more and more third parties start to enter the market, providing security services to governments and private entities,” he says.

Throughout new developments, some specific features significantly improve detection performance, according to de Cagny. “Automatic functionalities are implemented in order to provide the user with the most pertinent information. In this sense, artificial intelligence provides automatic shapes recognition and classification. This helps the operator analyze thermal detections,” he says. “Communication from the deployed system to a centralized control room is a key for a good situational awareness. Centralization of the data allows to cross-analyze multiple data sources and deduce a higher-level information. One of our CYCLOPE software features is the understanding of trafficking patterns to recognize behaviors. This supposes to detect automatically and repeatedly trafficking vessels for instance.”

According to Ramirez, there is still a wide gap between the security protocols of the sea versus those of the air.

“Critically, information about what else the ship is carrying, such as people on board, is not collected or analyzed to the same degree. Naturally, this poses a significant risk to the national security of a country,” he says. “If we take the pandemic as a microcosm of the wider maritime security challenge, we can clearly see that information about passengers (whether that be visitors, citizens, or migrant workers) plays a central role in fighting threats.”

Understanding the travel patterns of different passengers is also vital to the effective security of a nation, observes Ramirez. “Some visitors may arrive on a cruise ship, disembark and depart the country via airplane while migrant workers may arrive via air and proceed to travel to a ship or boat. With this level of cross-over, it is vital that the two systems speak to each other and do not operate in silos,” he says. “Our API-PNR targeting system updates in real-time and makes sure no one slips through the cracks – encouraging collaboration and cross-departmental communication to identify risks from any direction or source and dramatically elevating the security and control in the maritime sector.”

Predictably, technological advances are key to maintaining a strategic advantage, according to Thales. “Smart radars such as those we develop in the frame of our Master family can make a real difference. Smart radar applications are dedicated to facilitate crew workload,” says Thales. “Those new functionalities drive operator asking his radar to present a comprehensive view of the environment and raise all the abnormal situation on the area.”

Airbus has developed STYRIS to help enforce border integrity. “The product is dedicated to maritime surveillance and traffic monitoring, aimed at improving the safety of navigation as well as enhancing global security of the maritime domain. STYRIS combines surveillance stations with network sharing information between stations and also supports the coordination for the deployment of enforcement units,” says Airbus DS. “STYRIS automatically displays vessel information gathered by different sensors and sources of information on the operator’s screen. Vessels that do not follow procedures, or small/fast moving boats, will require more attention and can be alerted to patrols for further investigation if deemed as suspicious.”

It’s All About Technology

Indeed, technology is developing to manage the newer security risks being experienced by countries globally. In the second part of this story we’ll review the aspects of manned and unmanned coastal surveillance technologies and the role of big data and artificial intelligence.

Migrants Rescued by Italian Coast Guard

244 migrants were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard during the night of Sunday, November 28, 2021 off the coast of Calabria in the south Italy. There were 41 minors, including an infant born the previous day on a packed fishing boat that encountered difficult sea conditions.⁠
Bad weather made the rescue operation complex. The Italian Coast Guard carried out the rescue which took time. All were rescued after spending more than 16 hours at sea, all 244 migrants were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard with help from a Romanian naval unit.

U.N. officials estimate that 1,600 people have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea in 2021 so far. It is a major gateway for migrants trying to enter Europe with the help of human smugglers.

Knightscope Launches Nationwide Robot Roadshow for Security Robot

Knightscope, Inc., a developer of advanced physical security technologies utilizing fully autonomous robots focused on enhancing U.S. security operations, today announced the launch of its first-ever Robot Roadshow.

Knightscope’s robots will embark on a road trip across America, making appearances in select cities spanning at least 12 states and the District of Columbia. The tour will kicked-off in San Francisco, California on November 2, with two additional Bay Area stops in San Leandro and San Jose shortly thereafter. Additional destinations will be announced as they are finalized.

The company will bring the Knightscope experience to the figurative doorstep of prospective clients and communities so that they can interact with the machines in person while participating in a live virtual meeting with team experts. The nationwide Roadshow will spotlight a unique, futuristic “pod” housing one of each of Knightscope’s Autonomous Security Robots (ASRs) and will include a hybrid storefront equipped to exhibit the fully operational robots, docking station and the Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC) user interface.

“We are delighted to showcase Knightscope’s autonomous security robots across the country,” said Knightscope chairman and CEO, William Santana Li. “Connecting with our communities will be instrumental in expanding our national footprint and furthering our mission of making the United States the safest country in the world.”

Confirmed stops in tour include:

  • 12/1/2021 Tampa, Fla., IPMI Parking and Mobility Conference
  • 12/7/2021 Miami, Fla., Costex Tractor Parts
  • 12/13-14/21 Washington, D. C., Ronald Reagan Building

The company continues to build momentum within the autonomous robot space, with several recent achievements that highlight Knightscope as a premier autonomous physical security solution. In August of this year, the City of Huntington Park Police Department extended its existing contract with Knightscope to continue patrolling a popular Los Angeles park. Additionally, Knightscope partnered with Dimension Funding, generating up to $10 million in financing for operations. The company says they have also secured numerous contract renewals with clients entering their third, fourth and fifth years of service alongside new clients in casino, commercial real estate, airport, and residential verticals.

Floods Wreaked Transportation Havoc in Vancouver

Earlier this month, floods and landslides killed at least one person and cut all rail access to Canada’s largest port in the city of Vancouver, a spokesperson for the port said at the time. That weather event plus new rains are causing the port to experience big delays, officials say. The Vancouver Port Authority says Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo.

A spokesperson for the Port of Vancouver says the weather events significantly disrupted rail and truck movement due to widespread flooding throughout the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions. Mudslides, cars trapped between debris flows with hundreds of people trapped and later rescued and widespread flooding of highways throughout southwestern B.C. caused all main highway routes to the Metro Vancouver area to be closed all happened at once in mid-November. The city is still recovering.

Red Listing Philippines-Based Manning Agent ‘Able Maritime’ First Step to Stopping Seafarer Exploitation

The Inspectorate of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has red listed Able Maritime Seafarers Inc after the crewing agent failed to respond to official enquiries from the ITF about the diabolical pay and terrible conditions of seafarers the company placed in work.

A flood of new allegations against the Philippines-based manning agent have emerged as a result of publicity generated by the ITF’s questions, raised publicly last month.

The ITF is working closely with the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) which regulates manning agencies in the country, to find out what went wrong in the cases where it seems Able Maritime have failed to prevent of Filipino seafarers from being exploited, and in cases where they did not adequately support the seafarers nominally in their care to get help and return safely home.

“Since we raised the plight of seafarers placed in jobs by Able Maritime in Fiji, Malta and on Chinese-flagged fishing boats in the Indian Ocean, the families of more than 30 other seafarers have been in touch,” said Steve Trowsdale, ITF Inspectorate Coordinator. “They want to know what has happened to pay that Able Maritime owes them and their loved ones, in some cases for amounts worth more than seven months’ wages.”

The ITF runs a directory of manning agencies as part of its ITFShipBeSure.org website. By red listing Able Maritime on this site,

t is telling seafarers to avoid using the agency when seeking work. It is also serves as a warning to ship operators and regulators internationally.

“We haven’t taken this step lightly,” said Trowsdale. “But the weight of evidence against Able Maritime is overwhelming and the agency refuses to engage in any dialogue about how it might put right the suffering it has caused by placing seafarers in poorly paid and often dangerous work.”

Japan Customs and Smiths Detection to Boost Surveillance with State-of-the-Art Inspection System

Smiths Detection has secured a contract with Japan Customs to provide two Hi Energy 9 MeV, interlaced, dual view HCVS high-performance cargo inspection systems for screening trucks and cargo containers to Tokyo Customs at Jyonanjima and Kobe Customs at Mizushima. Installations will start in April 2022.

This improved HCVS X-ray stationary screening system utilizes a new upgraded conveyor mechanism which optimises security checks by scanning whole trucks (cabin included), containers, and vehicles for threats and contraband. With the ability to discriminate between organic and inorganic materials, the HCVS reduces the need for manual inspection while producing rapid and reliable results. It is already deployed at various ports across Japan and at international ports such as Belgium’s Port of Antwerp and Israel’s Haifa Port.

Japan is the world’s fourth largest importer and exporter of goods, making trade essential for its economy. In August 2021, imports and exports rose by over 20 percent year on year as Japan’s economy continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

“As the volume of goods and trade increases globally, being technologically innovative is vital for establishing trust between stakeholders and maintaining the flow of goods through our local and global markets,” said Kevin Davies, Smiths Detection, global director Ports and Borders. “Smiths Detection is proud to support Tokyo and Kobe Customs in creating the safest port environments possible. With state-of-the-art technology and our global team, we look forward to strengthening the region’s ease of trade and securing movements of cargo around the world.”