Safeguarding Critical Maritime Infrastructure Throughout Its Lifecycle: Proactive, Real-Time, and Reactive Measures

Offshore structures, including power and communications cables, oil rigs, and wind farms, are vital components of our global energy and communication infrastructure. This critical maritime infrastructure provide crucial resources that essentially power modern life. Given their importance, these structures must be safeguarded against risks such as damage from fishing, anchor dragging, or collision incidents. The consequences of damage are not only costly repairs for the owner but can also significantly affect local societies or entire communities— for example, when a severed communication cable disrupts service. A single accident, like a fishing vessel snagging a cable, can result in power outages or internet disruptions affecting hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

It’s clear that such critical infrastructure should be vigilantly monitored and protected, given the widespread impact damage can cause. Yet, surprisingly, many cables and pipelines remain unprotected and unmonitored.

Proactive: Planning and risk assessment

Using historical data to pinpoint the safest locations for cable placement or placement of windmill farms or rigs is crucial to proactively avoid unnecessary risk exposure. By leveraging Gatehouse Maritime’s access to historical data and predictive analytics, companies planning placement of maritime structures can minimize the risk of damage significantly. Our advanced tools allow you to compile comprehensive risk assessment reports, indicating with great precision where deployment of cables, windfarms or oil rigs should be avoided due to historical sailing and behavioural patterns.

Real-Time: Monitoring and Protection

A vessel has just entered a monitored area, displaying a pattern that suggests it is fishing and risking impact to the seabed—posing a major risk to subsea cables or pipelines. We have seen numerous instances where vessels unknowingly and accidentally damage infrastructure, sometimes causing power or internet outages for local communities or even entire countries.

Although protecting critical infrastructure on land is standard, at sea, many structures remain unprotected even though +95% of all fiber optic cables traverse bodies of water. Structures like oil rigs or wind farms are also often left vulnurable without any digital safeguarding.

We should not wait for a disaster before acting. Using Maritime Domain Awareness solutions, you can set up geo-fencing to monitor the areas you want to protect. Within these boundaries, our pattern detection technology filters out only the vessels posing a real risk to your assets. You want alerts triggered by genuine threats, not by every ship that passes by.

Critical Maritime Infrastructure

Reactive:  Incident Investigation and Refining Protective Measures

If an asset is left unprotected and an incident occurs—such as a vessel dragging an anchor over a cable or colliding with a wind turbine—incident reports are used to take protective measures to prevent such damage in the future. At sea, setting up a physical barrier is rarely feasible, so turning to technology is essential. To warn other vessels from entering the area, Gatehouse Maritime’s platform can establish Aids to Navigation (AtoNs), serving as digital warning signs displayed on sea navigation maps.

Once further risks are mitigated, the focus shifts to investigating the incident. Depending on the structure, the exact time of damage might not be known, but our replay solutions allow you to rewind and examine minute-by-minute what happened. Even with numerous vessels in the vicinity, our advanced analytical tools can pinpoint the likely cause of the damage.

Gatehouse Maritime clients utilize these replay functions in legal pursuits, providing crucial evidence that can document liability and has secured compensations worth millions of dollars.

Safeguarding critical maritime structures in all phases of deployment and operation

Gatehouse Maritime equips those tasked with risk assessment, deployment, operation, maintenance, or security of any offshore or subsea structure with sophisticated data-based solutions that enhance security and resilience throughout the lifecycle of the maritime structures. We assist Maritime Guardians in protecting critical, maritime infrastructure from initial placement through ongoing operations to incident response. By preventing costly damages and minimizing downtime, we not only maintain the efficiency and reliability of these structures but also safeguard the services upon which our communities fundamentally rely for their safety and well-being.

Authored by

Thomas Scott Jensen
Sales Director – Gatehouse Maritime
Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn

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