Anti-piracy and maritime security specialist Merchant Maritime
Warfare Centre (MMWC) has developed an innovative device to
improve the safety of shipping in
high-risk piracy areas.
MMWC’s Propeller Arrester creates an impenetrable security
perimeter around a vessel which, when crossed, causes failure of the
attacking vessel’s propulsion, rendering it disabled. Rigged to
heavy-duty booms and deployed prior to entering high-risk areas, the
Propeller Arrester releases lines of strong buoyant rope which float on
the surface of the water, without interfering with the deploying
vessel’s own propeller.
The Propeller Arrester can be deployed very quickly, with
minimal manpower. It remains effective when left unattended
regardless of vessel speed and design, and irrespective of the
cargo carried and the prevailing weather conditions. Once
transit has been completed and the threat of attack has passed,
the Propeller Arrester can be wound back onto drums and
stored on board, ready to be used again when required.
Nick Davis, CEO of Channel Islands-based MMWC, says,
“Piracy represents a very serious threat to the safety of today’s
shipping industry. It requires a concerted effort by all interested
parties to frustrate and defeat it, and technical innovation has a
very important role to play in that respect. The Propeller
Arrester offers, for the first time, a non-lethal countermeasure
that is capable of stopping single and multiple-vessel attacks by
preventing the attackers getting close enough to effect a means
of contact prior to boarding. It is
reusable, repairable and a fraction
of the cost of having an armed or
unarmed team on board. Until
now, shipping companies have had a
major disadvantage in that, by the
time onboard countermeasures to
protect against unlawful boarding
have become effective, the pirates
are already on board. That is not
the case with the Propeller
Arrester which, if used as part of a
layered defence system and
operated by well-trained crew, will
enable ships to prevent attacking
vessels getting close enough to attempt boarding, or will at least
make them such an unattractive target that the pirates will look
for alternatives.”
The Merchant Maritime Warfare Centre (MMWC) was
established in 2009 by maritime piracy expert Nick Davis and a
committed group of ex-military and security professionals. Its
primary aim is to empower the maritime industry against violent
crime and, in particular, against piracy, through the research,
development and delivery of comprehensive information and
effective non-lethal countermeasures and training. MMWC
strongly supports existing industry Best Management Practice,
and has developed partnerships at all levels of the shipping