The Tide of Security

The Tide of Security

Europe’s second largest seaport relies on open-platform video for security, logistics and environmental protection

With a central location in the industrial heartland of Western Europe and a capacity to handle the world’s largest ships, the port of Antwerp is experiencing high traffic both in terms of freight and port users, rendering it impossible for port authorities to be physically present everywhere, all the time.

Covering almost 30,000 acres, the Port of Antwerp is the largest seaport in Belgium and the second largest seaport in Europe. The port faces many daily operational challenges ranging from environmental concerns to safety, security and logistics issues.

Common accidents include oil leaks from ships during refueling and events such as when ships run against the quay or lock walls pier, causing damage that requires repairing. The early detection of oil spills is vital for minimizing the impact on plant and animal life, and for compliance reporting. The ability to document ship/port impact incidents and the resulting damage proves highly important for dispute resolution.

Extending the Coverage

Before installing a networked, open-platform, VMS solution, the Port of Antwerp had a standalone DVR system with no networking capabilities and no open platform support, meaning only a limited number of camera brands were supported. Additionally, the previous system only covered certain parts of the vast port area, so events frequently occurred in locations that were not monitored by authorities, costing the Port of Antwerp dearly.

With the VMS distributed solution, port authorities can now monitor the entire harbor area from one central location. This provides much better situational awareness enabling much faster detection of unusual events and accidents. Operators can initiate immediate mitigating action with early response that limits the impact of the incident.

Integrated Flexibility

The complete solution combines Milestone XProtect Corporate and XProtect Smart Client combined with third-party integrations. A majority of cameras are from Bosch, and the management structure is built on a mixture of IBM (Lenovo), DELL and virtual servers on VMWare.

The solution is very flexible thanks to Milestone Interconnect, which allows XProtect systems to be joined to the network. This supports the Port of Antwerp to easily expand the solution to cover more of the area. As XProtect supports more than 7,000 camera models, encoders and sensors, the harbor authorities have total freedom to choose the best device for the task, freeing them for the limitations posted by the old system.

In addition, the open platform VMS technology enables the Port of Antwerp to easily integrate the system with other authorities, such as the port’s Facility Management and Shipping Police, allowing all relevant parties access to the same video data when necessary, so incidents can be addressed before they potentially escalate.

Visible Results

After implementing the open-platform VMS solution, the Port of Antwerp has experienced a reduced number of accidents, improved access to high-quality proof of damage, less vandalism and theft, better management of shipping traffic and the ability to protect the environment in instances of oil leaks.

The high-resolution, situational overview provided by the monitoring solution enables fast detection of unusual events, which has significantly brought down the number of incidents at the large harbor. When incidents do happen, the Port of Antwerp now has access to better proof of damage, saving both time and money.

According to a harbor operations manager, easy access to high-quality images from the VMS system have significantly improved the harbor’s arbitration of disputes, and has saved substantial time and money by providing evidence of damage for law enforcement. With the previous DVR system, the review and export of video evidence was highly time-consuming, and the quality of the evidence was not always sufficient for official use.

The flexibility of the software enables the harbor to easily expand the system to more areas, and the ability to choose the cameras most suitable for the diverse needs in this challenging environment.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of Security Today.

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