Maritime security is a global concern. Small boats can be, and have been, used as platforms for attacks on ships in port and reported attempts at ship piracy are on the rise. Although great strides have been made in developing technologies for detecting possible attackers, more work needs to be done in developing appropriate responses once an attacker is identified. Therefore, the Centre’s work in this area is currently focusing on independent testing and evaluation of nonlethal response technologies.

Ports, particularly civilian ports, are difficult to protect because of the density of the port environment, the amount of traffic on sea and land, and the larger urban area where ports are typically located.  The fact that attacks could come from a variety of small, hard-to-detect sources—from surface ships to SCUBA divers— also complicates the task of port protection. This complex environment makes it difficult to monitor the port for hostile intent and even more challenging to develop a response that is nonlethal to the many people who are at the port and who may live, work, and recreate in the surrounding area.