Juliet Marine Systems, Inc. announced today that they have developed and built a revolutionary marine platform called GHOST specifically designed to deal with international problems of piracy.
International piracy has been consistently growing. In Somalia alone, pirates today hold 33 hijacked ships and 711 hostages, according to ICC IMB figures. Piracy is growing at about 10% per year and the heaviest activity is centered in Somalia. Juliet Marine's President and CEO Gregory Sancoff stated, "The piracy problem is not going away, the pirates are becoming more sophisticated. With the success of each hijacking, there is more money available to pirates through payment of ransoms to purchase better equipment, larger ships, and better weapons." A clear example of this is also seen in the continuing geographical expansion of pirate attacks further offshore. In 2005, pirates were within 170 nautical miles (nm) of their land bases and today they are over 1,000 nm from shore.
Juliet Marine Systems has developed a completely new class of vessel that has been compared by many working in the US Navy to an attack helicopter on the water. It has the ability to conduct long range security patrols at very high speeds and to loiter for several days. GHOST can utilize non-lethal or lethal weapons depending on situational requirements.
GHOST is specifically designed to be sea-based in squadrons from a larger ship that would act as home base for the security patrols and could be placed offshore close to the area of operations. Gregory Sancoff states, "Sea-basing is the best means for conducting pirate patrols. If GHOST is land-based, this would present a host of international treaty issues and additional security needs."
Juliet Marine Systems is discussing with the shipping industry the use of GHOST boats to provide private security patrols for their ships and insurance customers. Smaller boat owners wishing to navigate close to areas of concern would also be able to contract for security for their transit. Sancoff says, "This service, made possible by GHOST technology, could prevent tragedies such as the recent Quest hijacking, that resulted in the killing of four Americans, and the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, which also could have ended with American fatalities."
Juliet Marine Systems believes the best way to tackle the implementation of private pirate security patrols in the near future is for the many governments involved in this initiative to support sea-based security patrols. Sancoff says "America should not be stuck paying the bill for international piracy security, it's not all America's problem but rather an international problem that affects many countries."
Juliet Marine Systems is seeking government support to seed this effort through the US State Department and the US Navy. GHOST must comply with ITAR and export regulations.
Source: Juliet Marine Systems