UK maritime situational awareness through SitaWare
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April 20, 2021

SitaWare delivers maritime situational awareness of UK waters

 

SitaWare Headquarters demonstrated its ability to generate a detailed picture of the maritime environment built on disparate data.

Maritime security and policing have long been key concerns for the UK government. While in days past much of the focus was on customs enforcement, narcotics and human trafficking are now firmly front of mind.

Smugglers employ sophisticated methods and technologies as they try and avoid detection, and on an almost daily basis small boats attempt to cross the English Channel – the busiest shipping lane in the world.

Under a project to develop a Concept Capability Demonstration of enhanced information fusion capabilities for the Joint Maritime Security Headquarters, Systematic’s SitaWare Headquarters software was chosen as the solution to bring together disparate information sources and deliver enhanced situational awareness through a single operational view of UK waters.

The project was managed by the Home Office’s Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE) – an innovation unit within the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) – and focused on improving the capabilities of the Joint Maritime Operations Coordination Centre (JMOCC) and the National Maritime Information Centre (NMIC).

The policing and security of the UK’s waters involves various stakeholders, including the Border Force, Royal Navy, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, National Crime Agency, and police forces. Providing all stakeholders with a common operational picture improves coordination and response to situations across agencies.

“The detailed Maritime Domain Awareness picture presented in SitaWare drew on a wide range of data sources,” explains Paul Fielding, Senior Business Development Manager at Systematic, “the system ingested data from different radar types, AIS tracks, GIS information, meteorological data, and satellite and other imagery, among other sources.”

Identifying and tracking so-called ‘Dark Targets’ among the many thousands of legitimate vessels operating in UK waters everyday was a focus for the project, and was addressed via the advanced fusion and anomaly detection capabilities available in SitaWare.

“Sorting through the ‘clutter’ and identifying and tracking suspicious activity is not a simple task, especially given the large number and types of vessels operating in UK waters. SitaWare was able to correlate and monitor thousands of tracks with different data sources,” Fielding notes, “By injecting historical information – such as that on ship locations, vessel characteristics, and typical movements – into SitaWare’s anomaly detection system an accurate ‘pattern of life’ was established. Based on this, operators could task the system to alert them to a range of abnormal and other behaviours.”

In addition to counter-narcotics and human trafficking roles, the system could also be employed to support fisheries protection and search and rescue duties.

For the project, SitaWare was hosted both on a traditional network infrastructure and in an Amazon Web Services Cloud environment.

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