PORT PROTECTION - Port and harbour ROV inspection system
“PROTECTING SEAPORTS AND PORT facilities against the threat of terrorism is imperative. The terrorist attacks have resulted in a renewed focus on the security of our transportation systems.” Dept. of Transportation - Maritime Administration. [Port Security Grants news release, June 17, 2002]. Terrorism is a real and hidden danger that regrettable confronts all aspects of Western society. The scope and frequency of the threat is impossible to gauge, but the reality of the 9/11, Bali, Madrid and Beslan atrocities is unquestionable. This terrorist reality is one that the current U.S. Administration has demonstrated a willingness to meet head on, taking the fight to the perceived terrorist heartlands, while attempting to protect the U.S. homeland through aggressive multi - billion dollar homeland security drives to defeat the terrorist threat through readiness. Port and harbour installations are seen as prime targets due to location, size, accessibility and potential target yield, a devastating attack on a major harbour complex would have catastrophic human, economic, social and infrastructure ramifications. Observation and inspection through the use of appropriate ROV technology is seen as one way of protecting these vital global lifelines, and to do this effectively you need a market leader. Rapid identification and classification of potential threats within the installation perimeter requires the shortest response time possible. Under response conditions the hand carry class AC-ROV can be in the water and target bound in under1 minute. Currents and poor visibility do not hamper its progress, with 6 revolutionary thrusters (making it the most powerful ROV in its class) and 4 front facing / 2 (optional) rear facing cluster LED’s. Arriving at the suspicious target, the AC-ROV’s state-of-theart 480 line x 0.1 lux camera has no difficulty in classifying the object regardless of visibility. Object inspection is quick and easy due to the breakthrough movement of the ROV, which reduces the time needed to make life saving decisions. With the flight pattern of a helicopter, the AC-ROV employs forward, reverse, left & right, up & down movement, plus it hovers, tilts and rotates on its axis, giving what is considered to be unprecedented visual mobility. Where it circles/hovers/rotates around the object or follows its structure, many other ROV’s have to make ‘fly by’ inspections, thus constantly readjusting position because of a limited flight pattern. This could lengthen critical decision and response times. Couple these benefits with its small size, it means the ACROV may be an ideal vehicle for hull and installation fabric inspection. It has a 190mm fly through, which is thought to be the smallest in its class. This could prove an important development in protecting ports from the possible threat of terrorism.