New tool in the war against Somali piracy

Micro Compass at work
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In the fight against Somali piracy and in the hope that one day our oceans will again be comparatively safe for the roving sailor, there are many initiatives - the patrolling of the seas by some of the world's navies, the active work to return Somalia to a lawful state, and the serious arming of yachts and ships. Now the Israelis have adapted some of their military-use technology for the apprehension of pirates.

The development is based on the profile of active pirates. They are generally gangs of armed men who move around in fast small motor boats, working from larger 'mother ships' where they get their supplies and fuel. These fast boats then rapidly approach slower moving yachts or merchant ships, board them and rob the people on board, steal their cargoes or passengers’ property, and can even hold a ship and its crew for ransom sometimes for millions of dollars. Both cruising sailors and merchant seamen have lost their lives during these operations.

Now, in a move that may possibly be suitable for superyachts and may one day trickle down to the more modestly-outfitted cruising sailor, Israeli company El-Op, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, has developed the ‘Micro Compass’ system, which serves as a stabilized wide-area observation system suitable for use by day and by night. Despite its small physical size (only about 8 inches in diameter and weighing 9 kilos) it provides a long-term view in harsh conditions.

Micro Compass is usually attached to the main mast of the yacht or ship ship and consists of a zoom camera utilizing night vision capability as well as a color zoom day camera. As stated above, the system was originally developed for military use, but as the growing threat from pirates has increased so has the interest in the system for civilian use by ship and yacht owners.

'Identification of a threat from a distance of many kilometers can help prevent pirate ships from boarding and taking over a yacht or ship by providing warnings in time.

Boat owners recognize the huge potential dangers that can confront them on the open sea today so it is no wonder that they are taking a keen interest in the Micro Compass system.

Features:
Ultra-lightweight, extremely compact design, optimized for installation on small maritime platforms
Cutting-edge electro-optical technology, delivering superb day and night observation & surveillance capabilities, even in harsh weather conditions
Single LRU integrating four EO elements, large format continuous zoom thermal imager, zoom color TV camera with low light mode, target illuminator and eye-safe laser range finder (ELRF)
High stabilization level in a harsh sea state
Meets even the most severe environmental requirements

For more information, go to www.elbitsystems.com/elop