UK IT firm helps navy take on Somalian pirates

A UK-based IT security consultancy has supplied Wi-Fi meshing technology as part of new communications systems designed to help tackle Somalian piracy.

A European navy has recently deployed a new communications system that uses Wi-Fi meshing technology as a key component in its battle against Somalian pirates.

Worthing-based IT security consultancy Global Secure Systems (GSS) worked on the wireless component of a Maritime Boarding system, developed by Systematic of Denmark. It also used rugged, secure Wi-Fi equipment from Rajant of the US.

The Maritime Boarding system has been deployed to enable navy teams to board a suspect pirate vessel and search for arms or other suspect cargo, while providing a live video and voice feed back to the main patrol ship.

In addition to the real-time live feed, data can be sent back to the main ship, enabling biometric tasks like fingerprinting and photographic identification to be done in real time.

David Hobson, GSS managing director, told IT PRO the naval customer and vessel involved could not be named for security reasons. But he said: "It's the ability to automatically establish a high-bandwidth data network quickly and easily extend the Wi-Fi range so you can very quickly link smaller RIB and larger patrol vessels, and even helicopters, that's key here."

The navy has also used the system to relay what the pirates say back to an interpreter on the bridge of the main ship, so the boarding party can be told what is being said. The result is a much quicker and safer inspection of potential pirate vessels in the region.

"The Wi-Fi meshing technology used as a core part of the Systematic Sitaware Maritime Boarding system is a highly secure and cost-effective solution," he added, explaining that existing military systems were either too expensive or did not provide enough bandwidth for multimedia communications.

The International Maritime Bureau recently released its annual piracy report confirming an increase in piracy around the world, noting in particular a 200 per cent increase off the coast of Africa. These included the Saudi-owned supertanker Sirius Star, recently released for an undisclosed ransom.

Since its deployment in early December, the system has been used in action to help confiscate rocket propelled grenades and AK-47s machine guns, arrest pirates and sink their vessel before the pirates were handed over to the local coastguard.

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Most Popular

Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Windows 11 has problems with Oracle VirtualBox
Microsoft Windows

Windows 11 has problems with Oracle VirtualBox

5 Oct 2021