Five mini-submarines will be used to inspect the hulls of ships for drugs and weapons, or bombs that could be used in terrorist attacks, as part of moves to tighten security at Australia's busiest ports.Maybe a Spyfish (pictured).
The Australian Customs Service is looking for companies to provide five remote-controlled underwater vehicles, which will be used in four states to check the hulls of commercial ships.
The mini-submarines will be controlled by Customs officers on land or stationed on small boats, and will relay images of the hull of a ship under surveillance to a depth of 50m.
Customs proposals obtained by The Australian reveal the mini-submarines will be used at ports in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Fremantle and Dampier in Western Australia.
The move follows a multi-million-dollar drug bust last month in which alleged cocaine smugglers attached purpose-built metal pods to the hulls of two incoming ships.
Authorities believe criminal syndicates are increasingly targeting commercial vessels to traffic drugs or weapons using this technique.
The crews of the vessels are often unaware of the attachments, which are collected after the ship docks.
UPDATE: Report on mentioned metal pod drug bust here.