Charles River Analytics Awarion Autonomous Lookout System Wins a Popular Science 2023 “Best of What’s New” Award

Charles River Analytics announced that its Awarion Autonomous Lookout System was selected as a groundbreaking innovation by Popular Science. Awarion, which is currently being deployed to assist marine mammal protection measures during offshore wind farm construction, was named a Popular Science 2023 “Best of What’s New” award winner in the engineering category.

Each year, Popular Science reviews thousands of new products and innovations. To win a “Best of What’s New” award, a product or technology must represent a significant step forward in its category.

Awarion, an artificial intelligence and computer-vision system that complements and supports human lookouts and marine radar systems, caught the attention of Popular Science editors due to the novel application of AI and computer vision to help advance visual monitoring capabilities designed to protect marine mammals during offshore wind development.

Awarion uses electro-optical and infrared video to detect, analyze, and report on the presence of whales, ships, and other objects, including fishing buoys and equipment, at long distances. The system is being tested on Vineyard Wind 1, the United States’ first commercial-scale offshore wind project located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

“Since 1988, Popular Science has proudly celebrated the groundbreaking innovations changing our world,” said Annie Colbert, technology editor-in-chief. “The Best of What’s New Awards showcase the year’s radical ideas that are improving our everyday lives and our futures.”

Ross Eaton, principal scientist and director of marine systems at Charles River Analytics, noted that the award is an exciting win for the Awarion team. “It is incredibly rewarding to develop technology that can play an important role in conservation, climate change mitigation, and marine safety,” he said. “To have that work acknowledged by Popular Science is just outstanding. I couldn’t be more proud of our entire team.”

Richard Wronski, division vice president at Charles River Analytics, added that Vineyard Wind shares in the win. “Vineyard Wind deserves recognition for deploying cutting-edge technology that can benefit the offshore wind industry and the broader shipping industry as a whole,” Wronski said. “They led the way in realizing Awarion’s potential as a support for human lookouts in the protection of marine mammals.”

Cargo Ship Sinks off Lesbos

A cargo ship sank off the coast of Greece near the island of Lesbos Sunday, November 26. One person was rescued, one body was recovered but twelve crewmembers were still missing according to Greek authorities. The ship was en route from Alexandria, Egypt to Istanbul with a 6000 ton load of salt.

The ship reported mechanical issues Sunday morning and later sent a distress signal. A group of merchant ships, helicopters and a Greek navy ship were searching for the crew.

The dead crew member was retrieved Sunday afternoon and was taken to Lesbos. The body arrived but has not been identified, a coast guard spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

Houthi Rebels Hijack Ship, Take Control

Houthi rebels from Yemen seized what they referred to as an Israeli cargo ship in the Red Sea. The group then warned that all vessels connected to Israel “will become a legitimate target for armed forces.” The Houthi rebels released a video showing what they say is the attack and seizure of the vessel.

Houthi forces said they would “continue to carry out military operations against the Israeli enemy until the aggression against Gaza stops and the ugly crimes … against our Palestinian brothers in Gaza and the West Bank stop,” said Yahya Sare’e, a spokesperson for the group in a statement on X (formerly Twitter).

The released video showed masked, armed men exiting a helicopter onto the deck of the ship while it was still moving. The video showed crew members with their arms up being threatened at gunpoint. Palestinian and Yemeni flags were raised onboard. The authenticity of the video has not been verified.

Israel said the vessel, the Galaxy Leader, is a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship and described the incident as an “Iranian act of terrorism” with consequences for international maritime security.

Israel’s military said on X (formerly Twitter): “the hijacking of a cargo ship by the Houthis near Yemen in the southern Red Sea is a very grave incident of global consequence.”

Boat Captain Convicted of Manslaughter in Fire That Killed 34

The captain of a dive boat has been convicted of criminal negligance after 34 people were killed on board the boat. Jerry Boylan, the captain, was found guilty of misconduct/neglect of a ship officer in a trial in Los Angeles, Calif.

The fire occurred in 2019 on the commercial scuba diving vessel, the Conception. The boat caught fire near Santa Cruz Island, Calif. on the morning of Sept. 2, 2019. All passengers were sleeping below deck. Boylan and four members of the crew excaped but it is maintained that they did not attempt to help the passengers.

Boylan was convicted of “failing to perform any lifesaving or firefighting activities whatsoever at the time of the fire, even though he was uninjured,” the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a press release that announced the conviction.

Cargo Ships Collide in North Sea

One person died and four others are missing after two cargo ships collided. The incident took place North Sea off the coast of Germany. An additional two crew members were rescued, according to German officials.

The British-flagged Verity is said to have collided with the Polesie, ship’s registry Bahamas, on Tuesday morning. Reports say the Verity sank. The Polesie remained a float.

The Verity was traveling from Bremen to Immingham in the UK when it collided with the Polesie, which had departed from Hamburg on its way to La Coruña in Spain. The incident happened off the coast of Heligoland.

Rescue ships from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (DGzRS), a German navy helicopter and a water police boat are aiding in the search efforts, the DGzRS said. A cruise ship which is in the vicinity also contributed to the search.

German Transport Minister Volker Wissing thanked rescue crews and said every effort was being made to rescue the missing people, according to a statement posted on X.

No word as yet on the cause of the collision.

K2 Construction Consultants Wins $253 Million DHS Radiation Portal Monitor Deployment, Construction and Design Contract

K2 Construction Consultants has been awarded a five-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with a ceiling value of approximately $253 million by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) to deploy technology designed to detect and prevent nuclear and radiological material or devices from entering the United States. K2 partnered with Parsons Corporation and Culmen International to win the Radiation Portal Monitor Program (RPMP) Deployment contract.

The K2 team will deploy radiation portal monitors (RPM) across the US-Mexico and US-Canada borders and at international airports, seaports, and global postal facilities, in support of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“We are excited to expand our support of DHS to the CWMD mission from our many Transportation Security Administration (TSA) programs installing security screening systems and technology,” said Paul Krogh, chief executive officer of K2 Construction Consultants, Inc. “The team brings extraordinary capabilities and wide-ranging expertise for the development of threat reduction systems, integration of security screening technologies, as well as program and logistics management, procurement, and construction.”

“The critical importance of preventing nuclear and radiological material from entering the United States cannot be overstated,” said Jon Moretta, president, Engineered Systems for Parsons. “Working closely with K2, Culmen and DHS, we look forward to deploying technologies to help ensure the continued protection of American citizens and success of the RPMP mission.”

The K2 team will perform site surveys and designs, equipment installation, configuration management, and commissioning.

“Culmen’s capabilities and experience provides the Government with unique resources and expertise needed to fulfil the CWMD RPMP mission,” said Dan Berkon, CEO of Culmen International. “Culmen is proud to be part of the K2 team enhancing US and international security by implementing radiation portal monitoring solutions at critical sites.”

“We have assembled the strongest team in the industry to execute this important mission for CWMD,” said Paul Krogh. “K2, Parsons and Culmen are ideally positioned because of our exceptional track records with DHS, TSA and CBP.”

Major Airlines Halt Flights to Israel Amid War

Major air carriers around the globe suspended air service to Israel after Saturday’s attack launched from Gaza. Tour operators and cruise lines are changing itineraries too, in an effort to avoid Israel as well as canceling trips all together.

Hundreds of flights into Israel have been cancelled or delayed but Ben Gurion Intl. Airport remains operational. Delta Air Lines released a statement saying “Delta is continuously monitoring the security environment in Israel to inform cancellations to our Tel Aviv flight schedule. Our hearts are with all who are impacted as our people work to find safe alternatives for customers trying to travel to/from Tel Aviv…Delta people are keeping those impacted top of mind as we continuously monitor the rapidly evolving security environment and assess our operations based on security guidance and intelligence reports, including the most recent U.S. Department of State travel advisory. We will continue making schedule adjustments, including additional cancellations on a rolling basis, as needed for the safety of our customers and crew while remaining committed to assisting those needing travel.”

The aforementioned U.S. Department of State travel advisory says the following, “Terrorist groups, lone-actor terrorists and other violent extremists continue plotting possible attacks in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. Terrorists and violent extremists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Violence can occur in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza without warning. There has been a marked increase in demonstrations throughout Israel, some with little or no warning. Some areas have increased risk. Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Israel and the West Bank, and Gaza.” 

The country information page said this:

“U.S. citizens wishing to depart Israel can check the status of Ben Gurion International Airport and the availability and status of flights here:  Ben Gurion International Airport remains open, but some flights have been reduced or suspended.  U.S. carriers have temporarily suspended flights to Israel.  Please check with the airlines on the availability of flights and flight status.  For more information, please visit the airport’s website here:  

U.S. citizens can check the status of land border crossings here: 

U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness as security incidents, including mortar and rocket fire, often take place without warning. U.S. citizens should monitor news outlets and follow advice from local security and emergency response officials to increase their security awareness.  

U.S. Embassy personnel must observe a curfew from 8:00 PM – 6:00 AM and are urged to stay as close to home as possible outside the curfew hours.  U.S. government personnel are prohibited from personal travel to the West Bank until further notice.    

U.S. citizens should take this into consideration when planning their own activities. ”

El Al press release said their flights were being “operated as scheduled and that the airline was offering flexible cancellations to customers.” The airline is also adding flight service from additional destinations to allow people to return home to Israel.

Many cruise companies with scheduled port calls in Israel will not be stopping in Israeli cities such as Ashdod and Haifa. Cruise operators report exchanging those stops for ports in Turkey and or Greece. Some cruises that embark from Israel have been canceled through the end of October.

Russia Probably Using 60s Amphibious Aircraft to Search for Drones

It’s likely that Russia is using a 60-year old amphibious aircraft to search for Ukrainian threats like drones in the Black Sea Fleet, according to intelligence sources and reports.

Kyiv as ramped up attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and other targets around the occupied Crimean peninsula as part of an ongoing counteroffensive. This includes cruise missile strikes on a key shipyard and the fleet’s headquarters and attacks with uncrewed surface vessels (USVs), also known as sea drones, on Russian ships.

In early August, Ukraine employed sea drones in two major attacks, damaging the ship Olenegorsky Gornyak at the Russian port of Novorossiysk, and disabling the Russian merchant tanker Sig near the Kerch Strait.

“In recent weeks, the Naval Aviation component of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has assumed a particularly important role in the Fleet’s operations as it struggles to deal with concurrent threats on the southern flank of the Ukraine war,” Britain’s defense ministry wrote in a Monday intelligence update. “Naval Aviation is emphaszing maritime air patrol operations, highly likely with a primary mission of the early identification of uncrewed surface vessels,” Britain’s defense ministry said. “A key Russian asset in these operations is the Be-12 MAIL amphibious aircraft, designed in the 1950s, flying out of bases in occupied Crimea.”

Saab Offers Four Expeditionary Submarines to the Netherlands

Saab Offers Four Expeditionary Submarines to the Netherlands

Saab’s offered solution is based on a proven and future-proof design, the company says. It will incorporate the latest capabilities and technologies, whilst its truly modular design will allow for new technologies as they evolve to ensure relevance for many years to come.

Saab and Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group have cooperated since 2015 and the offer to build submarines to replace the Dutch Walrus-class is a balanced cooperation between the Netherlands and Sweden.

“The outstanding capabilities of the Expeditionary Submarine C718 meets and exceeds the Dutch needs and requirements long-term. Our offer constitutes a substantial contribution to the operational capability of the Dutch Defence Forces. Cooperation with local industry throughout the program secures strategic autonomy for the Netherlands. These are Dutch submarines for the Royal Netherlands Navy,” says Mats Wicksell, senior vice president and head of Saab’s business area Kockums.

The C718 is an advanced Expeditionary Submarine that offers an unsurpassed level of endurance and exceeds the Royal Netherlands Navy needs for long-distance operations, sufficient accommodation, crew comfort and increased weapon payload capability.

As part of the proposal, Saab offers a proven and integrated weapon launching system and one of the best sensor systems in the world. Saab’s innovative design features signature solutions to minimize detection by active sonars, all combined in an undetectable and extremely capable submarine.

EOS Establishes Working Group on Artificial Intelligence

EOS Establishes Working Group on Artificial Intelligence

The European Organization for Security (EOS) announced the creation of a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Working Group which aims to support the development of a strong European AI security market.

The creation of this AI Working Group is particularly important at a time when it is becoming increasingly apparent that Artificial Intelligence is not only affecting the entire spectrum of security domains, from border and urban security, to protection of critical infrastructure, to cybersecurity, but can also be used by hostile states and malevolent actors to conduct cyber and physical attacks and pursue terrorist or criminal goals.

To minimize risks to citizens and infrastructure, it is important for Europe to ensure its strategic autonomy in the development of AI systems employed for security purposes. European programs aimed at developing and deploying AI-enabled capabilities in the security ecosystem represent the most effective way to achieve Europe’s strategic autonomy.

In this context, the AI Working Group will be continuing the work of EOS’s AI Task Force on defining common European requirements for AI, identifying technological and capability gaps and solutions, and implementing an AI-focused capability development plan for security. Through this work, EOS reaffirms its position as the voice of the security industry and research community in Europe.