Trapping Pirates at SMM Hamburg 2012

New technology to deter pirates is a key topic for discussion at this years SMM conference in Hamburg. Westmark BVs patented P-trap anti-boarding device is now providing ship-owners with a non-lethal barrier to harden vessels against pirate attacks.

The P-trap will be displayed to the public at the maritime tradeshow SMM, held in Hamburg Germany from September 4 through 7. Tradeshow visitors can view a scale model of the P-trap as well as a video, providing test results from navy, coastguard and rescue services at Westmark and Vecom booths (507). An additional Westmark alliance stand is located in B8 (dedicated to Marine Defense and Safety), this section provides ship-owners with additional security strategies.

Westmark BV, based in the Netherlands, created the P-trap, an engine blocking system which creates a security zone around the perimeter of the ship and prevents other vessels from approaching too closely in an attempt to board. Side booms extend from the bow on both sides of the ship, carrying a set of long thin lines that are dragged just below the water surface, thus creating a barrier along the entire length of the ship. A pirate skiff or whaler entering the security zone will inevitably run into the lines, which are designed to disable the engine, leaving the pirate skiff inoperable. The P-trap is designed to continuously protect against multiple simultaneous attacks day and night and does not require crew involvement once deployed before entering high risk areas.

Westmark has created several P-trap systems, designed to fit most seagoing ships. “The P-trap concept is as simple as locking your doors and windows before going to bed at night. It’s practical and it makes sense,” said Lodewijk Westerbeek van Eerten, creator of P-trap. “The option to lock the perimeter of a ship offers seafarers an extra layer of protection and peace of mind so that they can focus on their core business—the transport of goods.”

Within the past year P-trap was named finalist at the Lloyd’s List Awards, Global 2011, finalist at the Seatrade Awards 2011 and declared winner at the Safety at Sea International Awards 2011 in the security category by Fairplay.

Dockwise, a global market leader in the transport of extremely large and heavy cargoes purchased and tested the system one of its ships. Following three successful transits through the Gulf of Aden using the P-trap, Dockwise expanded the use of the system on board its entire fleet. “We welcome the opportunity to provide additional tools and resources to our crews to reduce the risk of piracy attacks at sea,” said Dockwise Vice President of Operations.