Thermal imaging technology for port security

Thermal imaging cameras produce high-quality video in challenging lighting conditions. [Picture: Pelco-Schneider Electric]

Thermal imaging cameras produce high-quality video in challenging lighting conditions. [Picture: Pelco-Schneider Electric]

Millions of tonnes of cargo and billions of Euros in goods value represent the activity of a small city with miles of perimeter fencing, uneven infrastructure, blind spots and ever-changing weather conditions. Port security is no small task yet increasingly, security operators are asked to assume more responsibilities with static, if not shrinking, budgets. As drivers of a global economy, the demands placed on port security continue to grow and with it, the challenges and complexity increase exponentially.

Unlike traditional retail, commercial, and many industrial applications, ports present unique security issues that must be anticipated and addressed. Typically, high security installations rely on a variety of solutions, including – and often heavily relying upon – video security and surveillance. The combination of legacy analogue and more modern IP-based video cameras, recording and video management systems, Physical Security Information Management (PSIM), analytics and more provide a digital extension of security personnel.

Once restricted to the military due to prohibitive cost, thermal imaging is an increasingly relied upon technology for an ever-growing array of security – as well as process and operations management applications. As price points have dropped, integration of thermal technology into today’s video security and surveillance camera systems has become more prevalent, providing a wealth of information and functionality previously unavailable.

Port security however is anything but typical. From miles of unguarded, unlit perimeters to ever-changing lighting and weather conditions, traditional video security has a difficult time providing the comprehensive intelligence demanded by such a high-security facility. For more details read the full article at Port Technology International, by clicking the hyperlink.

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Mauritius orders military hardware for Customs, Police and Coast Guard

The Mauritius Coast Guard flagship MCGS Vigilant [www.defenceweb.co.za]

The Mauritius Coast Guard flagship MCGS Vigilant [www.defenceweb.co.za]

The island nation of Mauritius has ordered a 50 metre fast patrol vessel from India, as well as machineguns, ammunition, body armour and interceptor boats in a major re-equipment drive.

The government of Mauritius said the order for the $20.5 million fast patrol vessel for the Mauritius Police Force/Coast Guard was signed on May 7 in Port Louis by the Senior Chief Executive of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Chairman and Managing Director of Goa Shipyard Ltd, Shekhar Mital.

The fast patrol vessel will be 50.44 metres long with a speed of 35 knots. It will be used for defence and protection work, surveys, pollution control, coastal patrol, anti-smuggling, anti-poaching, search and rescue, fisheries protection and monitoring of foreign chartered trawlers, amongst other duties. On the same occasion, an addendum valued at $1.4 million was also signed for arms, ammunitions, bullet proof jackets and helmets and medium/heavy machine guns for 10 Interceptor boats.

The contract for the design, construction and delivery of these ten boats was signed on April 9 this year and is worth $6 million. The 14.5 metre long boats will have a cruising speed of 20 knots and a top speed of 35 knots. Furthermore, another contract for the design, construction and delivery of one additional interceptor boat for the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA), at a cost of $600 000, was also signed on May 7. This boat will be used by the MRA to carry out harbour/anchorage and coastal patrols. Source: www.defenceweb.co.za

Latest US container 100% scanning postponement predictable

Rapiscan_m60UK freight forwarders have welcomed but are not surprised by the latest US postponement by two years of the implementation of new rules requiring all cargo containers entering the US to be security scanned prior to departure from overseas ports, with national association BIFA reiterating calls for the initiative to be abandoned.

Peter Quantrill, Director General of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), said it was “hardly surprising” to hear the recent news that the US had delayed the introduction of the new rules “amid questions over whether this is the best way to protect US ports”, calling the move “a healthy dose of common sense”.

Mr Quantrill commented: “As BIFA has said repeatedly, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has consistently underestimated the enormity of the task in hand relative to the costs both to the US government and foreign governments – as well as, importantly, the limited ability of contemporary screening technology to penetrate dense cargo, or large quantities of cargo in shipping containers.”

The deadline for implementation of 100% scanning of all inbound containers has already been delayed from 2012 to 1 July, 2014, and US Secretary for Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who took over the role just six months ago, has now reportedly decided on another 24-month postponement.

BIFA’s comments follow the recent news of a letter from Thomas Carper, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which suggested that the use of systems available to scan containers would have a negative impact on trade capacity and the flow of cargo.

Quantrill adds: “Media reports suggest that the US Government now doubts whether it would be able to implement the mandate of 100% scanning, even in the long term, and it would appear that it now shares BIFA’s long-standing opinion that it is not the best use of taxpayer resources to meet the USA’s port security and homeland security needs.

“We have always said that expanding screening with available technology would slow the flow of commerce and drive up costs to consumers without bringing significant security benefits.”

He continued: “Whilst the latest news of a two-year delay appears to be a healthy dose of common sense at the US Department of Homeland Security, BIFA still believes that the US Government ought to take an even bolder step and repeal the original legislation.

“That would be the most appropriate way to address this flawed provision and allow the Department and the industry to continue to focus on real solutions, including strengthened risk-based management systems to address any security gaps that remain in global supply chains.”  Source: Lloyds Loading List