Maritime intelligence analysts are to open a state of the art anti-piracy centre on the south coast of England, aimed at saving shipping companies millions of pounds a year.
The intelligence hub has been set up by analysts Dryad Maritime in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and will bring together a team of ex-Royal Navy warfare specialists and experts who will monitor the movements of pirates around the world to alert seafarers with ample warning.
It is being opened ahead of a major international conference on piracy due to take place in London next week. Senior representatives from more than 40 governments and international organistaions will discuss new approaches to tackle the problem, including ways to break up the "business model" used by pirates in Somalia.
Piracy costs shipping companies millions of pounds each year. Dryad Maritime officials estimate that better use of maritime intelligence can save a vessel in transit an average of three to four days and hundreds of thousands of pounds in related staff and hire savings.
Karen Jaqcues, chief operating officer at Dryad Maritime, said: "We expect the threat from piracy to continue, we are investing heavily in infrastructure and technology to give our clients an outsourced operations centre that rivals any naval force.
"Utilising analysis-led maritime intelligence can save on average three to four days for a vessel in transit with related savings to charterers and ship-owners on bunkers, hire and the employment of physical security teams amounting to around $90,000 USD to $220,000 USD per transit."
A spokeswoman for the company, which is employed by shipping firms to identify threats from piracy and terrorism, added: "Home to some impressive, state-of-the-art technology, the centre is pivotal in monitoring and analysing the movements, assaults and trends of pirate action groups around the world.
"To seafarers, the centre is a lifeline. It tells them where the pirates are, where they are headed and what they look like.
"When too close for comfort, the centre warns ships and they are diverted to safer waters."