Scotland-based Marine MTS has launched Sentinel, a new software product designed to combat sea piracy.
Sentinel, a non-lethal, high-tech system, with additional covert capabilities, helps in tracking vessels remotely from anywhere in the world using specially developed technology called Loc8.
Combining weather information and detailed security data, the new software helps ship operators to choose a safe route to minimise the threat of piracy.
The new software is also designed to automatically alert emergency or military services if something unusual happens on board.
The software can monitor the movements of other vessels in the surrounding area in real time, with the data viewable on land, at a head office or emergency response centre.
A ship’s nominated security forces will be automatically alerted if there is any deviation in planned course or speed.
Marine MTS managing director Wynne Edwards said that Sentinel allows the user vessel to be monitored from a land base anywhere in the world, so that no matter where the ship is, its operator or owner can foresee problems that the on-board crew may not be in a position to spot or communicate.
"Until now, the answer to anti-piracy has involved increasing armed presence on board vessels," Edwards said. "This can escalate the problem in the long term, as data suggests that pirates are undeterred by this greater risk, and merely respond by ‘upping their game’ given that the reward is still considerable."
The cost of piracy in 2011 is estimated at $7bn, including security spending and ransom payments.
There have been around 150 instances of maritime piracy recorded so far in 2012.