America

Friday, May 25, 2007

ROVs help police with Port Security



Reported here, a new tool being used by the NYPD:
In the post-September 11 era, the officers in the New York Police Department's scuba unit have gotten used to working double time during Fleet Week, when Navy ships and the piers at which they dock have become potential targets for a terrorist attack. But thanks to a new seafaring robot, the task of checking for underwater bombs has become much easier this year.

Previously, Fleet Week meant that the elite unit of NYPD divers had to take a break from their usual search and rescue duties to give the hulls of all large vessels visiting New York Harbor, including cruise ships, a thorough going-over. In an arduous, dangerous, and rather mucky process, they searched by hand for explosives, contraband, and other suspicious devices attached to the bottoms of ships and pier pilings.

Now, four submarine robots, bought in January at a cost of more than $27,000 each with a federal counterterrorism grant, can do much of the work for them.
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Police officials say they are particularly concerned about high-profile ships, such as the Queen Mary 2, currently docked in Brooklyn. Along with the Navy ships, the scuba unit performed a check on that ship this week, as well as on all of the tugboats and sewage barges that service it.
Images of ROV from VideoRay.

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