According to Martek Marine, terrorist use of drones deploying explosives is already well documented and the potential for a drone to deliver an explosive charge through the deck of an oil/gas tanker with potentially catastrophic results is a stark reality.
Recent years have seen a massive advance in drone endurance, range and payload capacity whilst the price has also plummeted, leading to a proliferation of drones expected to reach 12million by 2020.
Vessels in port, at anchor or on coastal transits are potential ‘sitting ducks’ and currently powerless to know if/when they’re going to be attacked, let alone be in a position to defend against the threat. The ISPS code Part A para 1.3.3 mandates requirements, “preventing the introduction of unauthorised weapons, incendiary devices or explosive to ships” and Ship Security Plans need to address countermeasures to protect from such threats. The problem is that, up until now, aerial threats from drones have just not been considered.
To combat this emerging threat Martek Marine have developed the D-FENCE maritime drone detection & defeat system. D-FENCE detects and identifies commercial drones within a 20+km range providing GPS positioning of both drone and pilot together with the drone’s speed & heading. Configurable and escalating stage alarms in real time allow the threat level to be assessed in good time.
Once a real drone threat has been established, the system enables a 500m+ electronic ‘exclusion zone’ to be created around the vessel. Should the drone approach this exclusion zone, its control/video signal will be interrupted, initiating its fail-safe mode forcing it to land or return to its operator.
Since the recent launch of the system, Martek says it has secured a strong order book and is expanding operations to meet growing worldwide demand. Martek is actively seeking new global partners and agents for D-FENCE.
Martek CEO Paul Luen commented, “Drone technology offers some amazing benefits to the maritime industry but as ever, ‘bad actors’ will seek to use the technology for nefarious purposes. The development of D-FENCE is a major breakthrough to help mitigate such threats and protect global shipping.”
By Jake Frith
Source: Maritime Journal