The U.S. system, which Turkey has taken as an example, aims to identify threats at sea, both underwater and above water. The system keeps track of all sea activities through various algorithms and reports them to a command center.
The system can easily differentiate between swimming objects such as people and fish, and vessels that may pose a threat. Unmanned underwater vehicles and fixed sensors are used in the system. Greece has set up a similar system for its islands in the Aegean. Another similar system is being used in the Red Sea.
Marmara, straits under watchful eye
A total of 13 radar systems, two vessel traffic-control centers and six automatic identification systems have been set up in Turkish straits as part of the Turkish Maritime Undersecretariat's agreement with U.S. corporation Lockheed Martin. The project was extended with an additional agreement signed in 2002 to include three more radars and two automatic identification systems that were set up in the Sea of Marmara.
The Turkish system monitors vessels entering the Sea of Marmara through both straits and monitors shipping. A major part of the sea route through the Sea of Marmara is currently covered by the system. All vessels over 300 tons and passenger ships report their identity, speed and destination to the control center through radio links. This information is gathered at port command centers and maritime traffic is controlled by radar this way. The system enables both a regular flow of traffic and the inspection and identification of suspicious vessels.