Surveillance, science and security

Mon, 01 September 2014

British Antarctic Survey have selected Synectics' surveillance cameras to safeguard crew, science teams and research technology on-board the pioneering RRS (Royal Research Ship) ‘James Clark Ross’, which was recently involved in vital research into the effects of climate change on the Pine Island Glacier.

RRS James Clark Ross is an ice-class vessel built for extremes, from sailing through 1m thick pack ice at -30ºC, to navigating in 100 knot winds with poor visibility. Designed for conducting biological, oceanographic and geophysical cruises (around 6 per year) primarily in the Antarctic, and equipped as a full floating laboratory, the ship is one of the most sophisticated marine research vessels in the world.

Randolph Sliester, head of BAS shipping said: “Whether it’s lowering trawl nets for fish stock and plankton analysis, or deploying 8 ton corers to obtain sea-bed sediment samples, in our work and the environment in which we operate, risk mitigation is paramount. There needs to be constant communication and full situational awareness between the captain, his crew and the science teams conducting research.”

The vessel uses a combination of Synectics’ COEX™ C2000 fixed and PTZ camera stations to monitor on and off-ship activity. Corrosion resistant, and operational at temperatures as low as -45ºC, the C2000 camera stations are used for monitoring or tracking both fixed and moving objects on deck or at sea.

While RSS James Clark Ross primarily uses surveillance for vessel and personnel safety, port security was also a factor in selecting the right solution. Randolph said: “The majority of the year is spent at sea conducting research but our time in port is equally important – particularly when we are collecting fresh supplies for research teams. We are, in effect, their lifeline. In addition to using our surveillance system to safely navigate into busy ports, its role is also to protect the ship and its contents while we are docked.

“In the past we’ve actually had people try to board our ship at port by approaching on rafts or dinghies to try and evade detection. Complete and continuous surveillance of entry points and surrounding waters during port stops is therefore crucial.”

By Jake Frit,-science-and-security

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