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Port security demonstration in Gothenburg

FOI is currently leading a demonstration in Gothenburg of technology designed to improve the security of ports around the world.

The demonstration, taking place on 7-8 May, is the culmination of four years of research work on the EU’s SUPPORT (Security UPgrade for PORTs) project. The project was initiated when FOI, together with some 20 partners with expertise in the areas of research, logistics and port security, applied for funding under the EU’s 7th Framework Programme.

Those attending the demonstration in the port of Gothenburg include primarily port security stakeholders, port operators and representatives of a range of Swedish and European authorities. The Swedish Armed Forces are playing a part by allowing their personnel to act as hostile divers, swimmers and special boat operators.

FOI has the principal role to play in two of the demonstration’s three scenarios.

- In one of the scenarios we show how intruders from seaward can be detected. In a second scenario with a major FOI input, we show how the system supports the port operators using information fusion and decision support tools. A third scenario demonstrates the Port Security Management System (PSMS) produced by the project to work out the protection requirements for a port and to show where the security loopholes could be, says FOI project manager Sören Jägerhök.

One of the reasons for the research into countering intrusion is that many ports find that they lack good and affordable tools for seaward surveillance and so find it difficult to guard against terrorist attack and organised crime such as theft, smuggling and stowaways. FOI has therefore created a system that is capable of detecting divers, swimmers or small craft which might attempt to approach the quayside or a vessel tied up alongside.

The system is based on video cameras which, in combination with IR cameras, monitor what is happening on the surface while hydrophone chains serve to detect divers. 

Data from these three sensor types is combined and used, via an information fusion system, to warn the operator of the existence of a security threat. One of the great benefits of this system is that the degree of automation and robustness against false alarms is such that it requires no increase in the number of security personnel. 

- FOI has demonstrated here that, if used correctly, a passive hydrophone system can be as good as, or even better than, the considerably more costly active sonar systems, says Sören Jägerhök.

During the course of the research work, a number of new discoveries have been made.

- One rather nice example is that we have learnt how to detect a swimmer without getting a whole lot of false alarms from flotsam or seabirds. This has involved teaching the system the difference between how the human body moves through waves in the water compared with other things, Sören Jägerhök tells us.

For FOI’s part, the work involved in this project has given us contacts which in turn have led to new research assignments. In due course this could also create new business for Swedish companies.

- Two of the partners, Securitas and eBOS, are working on the commercialisation of PSMS for use by port and terminal operators, says Sören Jägerhök.

FOI, Swedish Defence Research Agency

Swedish Defence Research Agency
SE-164 90 Stockholm

Phone +46 8 555 030 00
Fax +46 8 555 031 00

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