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Giant Offshore Screening System To Protect Ports From Deadly Cargo

SeaAway Offshore Security System (Image courtesy Popular Science)
By Andrew Liszewski

Believe it or not when a cargo ship comes into port the various containers are only scanned for security and safety risks after they have been unloaded. When you consider there’s about 11 million containers coming into the US every year there’s a lot of potential for something dangerous to enter the country. So a new company out of Florida called SeaAway is proposing a cargo screening system that sits 14 miles offshore of all the major ports around the world.

The system is comprised of two 100 foot wide platforms called Sea Sentinels that are anchored to the sea floor and manned by a staff who live on the premises. The platforms are far enough apart to allow a cargo freighter to pass through and while they do the ships are scanned with sensors and unmanned underwater vehicles for radiation, explosive residues and signs of human cargo. If something suspicious is detected the ship can be stopped with the assistance of the Coast Guard and a special SeaAway boat called the Sea Handler can be used to offload the containers in question while still at sea.

To offset the $100 million price tag of the system the ships passing through could be charged up to $20 per container while the actual shipping companies would be compensated through various tax breaks.

[ Popular Science - Sentinels at Sea ]







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