Using Mini ROVs for Contraband Inspections
There are many threats to our ports that have been identified and measures that are being taken to protect the ports. The benefits of maritime security are not simply for safety, though that is the most important. The benefits are economical and political, allowing for regions to thrive when properly executed.
Retired U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Scot Graham recognizes ports as being a challenging hotbed for risk. Graham believes that “It’s not just about Security. It’s accidents, crimes and natural disasters” (Smith 2014). Crime is the most preventable of the three on this list but unfortunately out of the estimated 420 million cargo containers that are exchanged around the world via our ports (90% of our global cargo), it is believed that the vast majority of these containers are not inspected properly. UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
This leaves room for narcotics, stolen goods, weapons and unfortunately, people, to be transported across borders and continents without detection.
There are some that are caught, such as in Greece when Freighter Genc 3 was intercepted with large quantities of contraband cigarettes on board. (Voytenko 2015). Although, there are not that many stories like this one. The number of illegal transports being completed through the shipping industry is difficult to estimate due to the lack of inspection efforts and data that is available.
The most important inspection area of the ships is the hulls (Kongsberg Maritime 2015). Parasitic containers for narcotics or weapons could be secured to the bow thrusters, bilge keels or rudder structures. This is where remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) have found their calling.
ROVs can be used to visually inspect the hulls as well as use Sonar technologies to ensure that all submerged areas of the vessel are clear of these illegal shipments. Operators can stand on deck of their own boat or docks, without having to call in the dive teams and subject them to the danger of being trapped below the vessel and the possible danger of explosives placed on the vessel.
Deep Trekker ROVs offer even more advantages to the contraband inspection. The ease of use allows for any Port Officer to be fully trained with a couple hours of practice and never have to perform any routine maintenance. The portability allows for any vessel to be accessed from anywhere on the docks. The price? More competitive and cost effective than any other on the market.