Marine

Writhing water hose system designed to thwart pirates

Writhing water hose system des...
The Anti-Piracy Curtain is a ship defense system, designed to keep pirates at bay using snaking high-pressure water hoses
The Anti-Piracy Curtain is a ship defense system, designed to keep pirates at bay using snaking high-pressure water hoses
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The nozzles and sinkers have a rubber coating, to keep them from damaging the paint on the ship's hull
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The nozzles and sinkers have a rubber coating, to keep them from damaging the paint on the ship's hull
The hoses spray out water at a force of 0.2 megapascals
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The hoses spray out water at a force of 0.2 megapascals
The Anti-Piracy Curtain would also fill attacking boats with water
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The Anti-Piracy Curtain would also fill attacking boats with water
The Anti-Piracy Curtain is a ship defense system, designed to keep pirates at bay using snaking high-pressure water hoses
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The Anti-Piracy Curtain is a ship defense system, designed to keep pirates at bay using snaking high-pressure water hoses
The hoses would be located along both sides of the ship, and supplied with water by its existing fire-fighting system
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The hoses would be located along both sides of the ship, and supplied with water by its existing fire-fighting system
View gallery - 5 images

As modern-day piracy continues to be a real threat to ships in some parts of the world, people are likewise continually coming up with new ways of projecting crews and passengers against attacks. While some anti-piracy systems have utilized things such as sound waves and lasers, a new one uses something that is decidedly lower tech – flailing water hoses.

The Anti-Piracy Curtain was designed by a division of Japan’s NYK Group, along with hose manufacturer Yokoi. It’s intended for use on smaller ships (which are more vulnerable to attacks), and consists of a series of patented hoses that are dangled off the port and starboard sides of the vessel.

The ship’s existing fire-fighting system pumps seawater into those hoses, which spray it out via their high-pressure nozzles at a force of 0.2 megapascals. That figure might not mean much to most people, but it’s evidently enough to send the hoses into violently unpredictable gyrations, packing enough force to seriously injure anyone who gets in their way.

Sinkers attached to the ends of the hoses keep them down near the pirate boats, while rubber covers on the nozzles and sinkers reportedly stop them from damaging the paint on the ship’s hull.

The Anti-Piracy Curtain would also fill attacking boats with water
The Anti-Piracy Curtain would also fill attacking boats with water

Along with packing a nasty wallop, the hoses also ... well, they also spray water. Besides getting in the pirates’ eyes, there would apparently be enough of it getting sprayed out to fill up the attacking boats at a rate of over one centimeter (0.39 in) per minute. Needless to say, that would depend on the size of the boat.

While the hoses should certainly pose a couple of practical challenges to pirates trying to board a vessel, they’re also intended to be a psychological weapon – with their bright yellow color and wildly snaking movements, they’re highly visible from far away. The hope is that pirates wouldn’t even bother approaching a ship that’s using them.

In tests of the system, the Anti-Piracy Curtain has already been shown to be capable of operating continuously for two weeks. Sea trials are planned next – there’s no word on whether or not those trials will involve attacks by actual pirates.

More information is available in the video below.

Source: DigInfo via PopSci

Anti-piracy curtain to deter pirates from attacking ships #DigInfo

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27 comments
Gadgeteer
"...at a force of 0.2 megapascals. That figure might not mean much to most people,"
First, megapascals is a unit of pressure, not force. Second, it would have taken a few seconds to convert 0.2 MPA to 29 psi for American readers.
That said, it's a decent idea. Although I'm rather partial to flamethrowers armored with steel plate pointing down the gunwales. Guess I'm just a little bloodthirsty when dealing with pirates.
Mr Stiffy
Interesting idea. Dangling a whole heap of high pressure water hoses over the side.... and running them. And despite the claim that all that thrashing around and the design of the unit will not damage the paint - unless the hoses are made of Teflon - they will rub and ding and abrade the paint off the side of the ship... As to why people who own the ships, not simply arming the crew and a watch kept is beyond me. A sweeping camera or two in the crows nest - with IR capability for night time use. Half a dozen rifles with automatic fire and night scopes, a bit of thick steel plating at the bridge ends. Problem solved.
MrGadget
I would use this as a backup or last resort, not as the only means against pirates.
Why the reluctance to use deadly force?
jonoxn
Mr Stiffy...
They are ship crews, not military personal. Excluding some countries (or states to be more specific) not everybody wants to fire a gun. Good luck finding a crew who is trained in combat and can reliably do their task on the ship as well.
And unless they painted the ship in facepaint I think it has a fairly reasonable chance of withstanding a couple weeks of fire-hose 'abrasion'.
Bryant Drake
Instead of ammunition for said sentry guns why not combine with this and make an automated watergun? Hell I will build one if anyone is interested in buying. {[Patent Pending]}
VoiceofReason
Wow....really? So....what happens when the pirates get mad and instead shooting a few stray rifle rounds in the ship, they start lobbing a few dozen RPG-7 rounds and the ship sinks?
Only a matter of time before the pirates figure our how to catch the hose and use is as a rope.
Steven Howie
This has to be one of the stupidest things I've seen yet on Gizmag. Is it April 1st again? I agree with Mr Stiffy (can't believe I just said that either)!
Decimator
Mr Stiffy, because there's this idea among many countries that people don't have the right to defend themselves. Try to enter a port with an armed crew and they'll be arrested.
AngryPenguin
Can't blame port authorities for not liking it when armed foreigners show up, can you?
Anyway, they'd never win a gunfight with pirates. A cargo ship is a really, really big target, and these pirates have RPGs designed to take out tanks.
Mr Stiffy
@VoiceofReason
The bridge on most ships is usually 5 to 8 stories above the water = Height Advantage.
The ship is BIG and stable = aiming and accuracy advantage. , The pirates have small boats bobbing around in the ocean = total disadvantage.
The steel plate composing the ends of the Bridge provide full body coverage against most gun fire. The Pirates are getting shot at from above in open boats.
In terms of who can shoot who, a few hundred rounds down into the smaller boats, from a great range, with very remote chance of getting hit ones's self - it's a great idea.
Until the pirates get self guided man portable missiles.... but that is another issue of COST and when they revert to this, instead of simply raiding the ships and taking hostages, then they risk the comeback of openly being attacked themselves with more and better armed crews on the ships... including military coverage and hardware on board.
2 or 4 soldiers onboard - with extra hardware.... A few hundred rounds through a 1/2" caliber machine gun....
Personally I have never liked the idea of bending over with my pants around my ankles for any one.
Pirates, thieves and stand over merchants even less so.