Underwater Port Security

Friday, June 10, 2005
By Petty Officer 1st Class Amy Thomas, Pacific Area Public Affairs The Coast Guard's newest wave of anti-terrorism tool is being unleashed on ports nationwide. The Underwater Port Security System (UPSS) can detect, track, classify and interdict intruders, and allows for the inspection of hulls and pier structures or anything that is underwater without an invitation. It adds an additional layer of protection to our ports, and is available in the U.S. anywhere and anytime. It can hear, see and talk underwater and it's compact enough fit in a large suitcase. "Terrorists are always looking for ways to attack elements of our infrastructure critical to our economy and our freedom," said Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander, Vice Adm. Harvey Johnson during a recent demonstration of the system in San Pedro, Calif. "Our ports are absolutely vital to this nation, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our ability to protect them." The UPSS is composed of two elements: the Underwater Inspection System and the Integrated Anti-Swimmer System. The Underwater Inspection System uses divers who are trained to inspect ships' hulls, piers, as well as, to conduct ocean-bottom searches. It also includes Remotely Operated Vehicles that can be deployed underwater when it may be too dangerous to put a diver in the water. "The Coast Guard has been lacking in this area for awhile," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jachob Smith, an electronics technician assigned to the Maritime Safety and Security Team in San Pedro. "Before we had this system, it was all about crews standing lookout watches. We were really limited as to what we could see. Now, we can see very well in even cloudy or murky water." The second element of the UPSS is the Integrated Anti-Swimmer system. The IAS is comprised of a commercially available sound head that detects and tracks potential underwater threats, and a processor that classifies underwater contacts and alerts system operators to their presence. IAS is capable of guiding Coast Guard security forces to the threat, and provides high frequency sonar images to positively identify the contact as a swimmer or diver, and not marine life or some other object. Smith said MSST divers have been sent underwater to try to "trick" the system and to test its detection parameters, and so far the system has proved infallible. "We've had the divers go at the system at all speeds and from all angles, and it detects them every time," he said. The system, which will be housed with certain Maritime Safety and Security Teams throughout the country, is portable and is available for operational commanders for specific events either as a deterrent or in response to intelligence reports. When the system is deployed, the Coast Guard will notify the public that specific security zones have been put in place. Should someone innocently enter a security zone, the Coast Guard will make reasonable efforts to communicate to them using underwater loud hailers before using any additional forcible measures. Smith, who's been working with the system for about a year and half, said he underwent extensive training to become well versed in the system's operations. He said knowledge of wireless networking technology, as well as, general computer knowledge is necessary to become proficient at the system. "There is a significant learning curve, but it is doable," Smith said. "It just takes time." Concern over the effect this system might have on marine life led the Coast Guard to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service. Preliminary data indicates that the system will not have a significant impact on any marine species, and the Coast Guard will continue to work with NMFS to ensure the environmental impact is as minimal as possible. Many agree that this system is the next generation in port security and gives the Coast Guard the upper hand in detecting a threat. "This system adds a layer of security to our ports by providing specific protection from underwater threats, and it reduces the chances of success for a possible means of attack," said Johnson. "It is by no means a guarantee, but it is an important step forward."
Maritime Reporter November 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Maritime Security

USCG Commandant to Address PVA Convention

Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Paul F. Zukunft will attend the PVA Annual Convention at MariTrends 2015 in Long Beach, Calif. and deliver a keynote

Philippines to Buy Naval Assets, China Sea Dispute Simmers

The Philippines aims to buy two frigates, two helicopters and three gunboats for deployment in the South China Sea where a territorial dispute with China has lent

USCG Provides SAR Planning Support to Korea

Coast Guard search and rescue crews were relieved by Republic of Korea assets on Saturday in their search for 26 crewmembers from the fishing vessel 501 Oryong that capsized Nov.

News

Damen Responds to Evolving Fishing Practices

Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam meets fishing sector’s growing needs by performing electric pulse fishing conversions   As European fishing policies evolve, so fishing techniques advance.

Maaskant Shipyards Earns ISO 9001:2008 Certificate

Maaskant Shipyards (Stellendam), part of Damen Shipyards Group, has received certification from Bureau Veritas for aligning its quality and management systems with

Duffy Named President of Carnival Cruise Line

Christine Duffy has been named president of Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation & plc. announced today.   Duffy, currently president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA),

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1471 sec (7 req/sec)