By Ilangkumanan Kashaban
Safety and security has been a growing concern recently throughout the world. The main reason being is accidents, i.e. fire and explosions and criminal activities, such as act of terrorism and piracy. Land is not the only place for such threat, seas and oceans are getting the same as well. In past years, different ways and/or approaches have been proposed to prevent a recurrence of such threats.
Individuals, private and government sectors are looking into it seriously for the purpose of security protection and defence of seas and oceans from accidents and intruders. Quite a number of patent applications have been filed in recent years on the same. Two of them have drawn my attention – one is from oil and gas sector and another from ship transport sector.
The first is on the oil and gas sector, particularly in management of crude oil. Extracted crude oil has to be stored before it is transported for further processing into end products. Thus, serious care has to be taken on the storage facilities to avoid any accidents and/or to avoid being exposed for an attack by intruders– which could lead to a loss of millions of dollars of value associated with crude oil.
LOVIE PETER filed an application on 23 May 2011 (United States Patent Application no.: US13/113658) for a system and method for securing offshore storage of crude oil.
The system uses a group(s) of large floatable gravity based structures, which are concrete offshore crude oil storage tanks that are first positioned and then caused to rest on the ocean bottom at one or more predetermined offshore locations. Each group of storage tanks may be connected together by a subsea piping and manifold system and has its own security system to protect it against militants or others intent on disrupting the storage, export or shipment of crude oil.
Also, each group of storage tanks may be equipped with a set of floating barriers and its own security perimeter to enable monitoring of adjacent waters and detecting any vessel movements as to prevent them from nearing the storage tanks. When a vessel is found having a potential threat to the storage tanks, preventing means are utilized, where warning will be first issued and followed by stopping the intruders. The preventing means includes of high intensity sound beams, focused electromagnetic beams and others.
The second is on the ship transport sector, particularly marine vessels, i.e. regardless of the types of marine vessels (cargo or passenger). Millions of vessels travel across the seas and the oceans every day. Tracking them is definitely important and crucial for safety of the crew in the event of accidents, security and defence breaches. WINDWARD LTD filed a patent application (European Patent Application no.: EP20110196123) on 29 December 2011 for providing near real-time maritime insight from satellite imagery and extrinsic data.
The invention relates to maritime detection, tracking and monitoring of sea and ocean faring objects (i.e. vessels) in a predetermined area of interest, particularly to doing so based on satellite data such as imagery, radar, radio signals, etc. The invention provides a method of monitoring predetermined areas to produce near real time maritime intelligence, where the method includes of receiving a plurality of acquired data from multiple sensors located on satellites and sensors located terrestrially.
The received data is then incorporated with data verification, data extraction, data fusion and insight deduction to produce near real time data on all maritime vessels that is within said predetermined area of interest. Finally, a fused traffic analysis report is produced which is comprised of N fused, real world maritime images.
The invention is designed to provide full, analyzed, real world picture, together with conclusions on which vessels have been identified as suspicious. The invention is based on web technologies and may display a dynamic, real world picture which enables it to see and understand the maritime image at any point of time (both in the past and in the future).
The above inventions shows that responsible individuals are taking necessary measures to keep the oil and gas sector and the ship transport sector safe and secure. The inventions may be entirely new and/or may be merely an improvement from the old ones, but what is important is that we are prepared to face the danger. The patent system certainly helps to encourage innovation, including innovation that are much needed to prevent criminal activities against or in the marine vessels and infrastructure facilities positioned in the seas.
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