Port of Providence an example of true layered approach to maritime security

Raytheon Company and Smiths Detection received a contract from the city of Providence, R.I., to strengthen surveillance in its port by integrating chemical-detection sensors and and video management system into the existing security system for immediate warning capabilities to alert and protect communities from accidental and intentional chemical hazards.

The system combines Smiths Detection’s chemical detection capabilities (Centurion II) and FirstView video and sensor management software with Raytheon’s Athena command and control system to monitor traffic in Narragansett Bay providing real time port security. Using radar, Geographic Information System (GIS) systems and long-range video cameras, vessels can be remotely identified and tracked from the harbor entrance at Newport to the loading docks at the Port of Providence.

The network of sensors from the southern entrance of Narragansett Bay to the Port of Providence 25 miles north feeds information into the Providence Emergency Management Agency’s Operations Center, using Raytheon technology called Athena as the common operating picture platform.

The Athena technology integrates information from radars and cameras, providing authorities with a picture of events as they are happening. The new sensors will be integrated into this system.

Funded through a competitive Department of Homeland Security grant, the system will alert authorities to chemical hazards in the port area and provide real-time video and sensor data to first responders and emergency personnel.

Jamie Edgar, Vice President, Smiths Detection, said: “Our system provides a true layered approach to maritime security. By integrating live video, data management and immediate warning capabilities with fixed sensors in critical areas, FirstView and Athena will help protect against intentional or accidental chemical incidents.”

Providence Mayor David Cicilline, whose city administration awarded the contract, said: “These chemical sensors will provide our emergency response personnel with critical information needed to accurately evaluate potential threats and mobilize quickly to protect the residents of our state. This state-of-the art technology, developed right here in Rhode Island, is also helping to retain jobs and put people to work.”

System data will be monitored by the Providence Emergency Management Agency. In the event of a chemical incident, authorities at the command center will be notified within seconds about chemical identification, concentration and approximate location in order to initiate response protocols.

“This detection equipment will improve situational awareness by providing keen insight to critical threats in the Port of Providence,” said Karen Kalil Brown, vice president, National & Theater Security Programs for Raytheon IDS. “The work is part of a Rhode Island initiative called RICOP (Rhode Island Common Operating Picture), which enables decision-makers to evaluate, deter and respond to threats more efficiently.”

Located at the convergence of the Providence River and Narragansett Bay, the 105-acre marine terminal is operated by a private nonprofit agency, ProvPort Inc., under a long-term lease from the city dating back to 1994.

The more than 100 ships that pulled into the port each year provide 1,000 direct jobs for Rhode Islanders, 1,500 indirect jobs through services related to the port industries, and over $200 million in economic activity, according to Waterson.

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