Safe and sound at sea


The new Gangway Control System will make it easier for ship operators to keep exact records of who is onboard at any time. It will also make it quicker to get passengers off in an emergency, and stop unwanted visitors getting on.

The terrorist attacks of World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001 affected more than just passengers traveling by air. People traveling by sea are also subject to increased security measures as part of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code agreement signed in London in 2002. Today, the master of any ship of over 500 tons displacement needs to know who is on board at any time. And new security threats are driving the development of entry card systems.

VingCard Marine has been developing metal key systems for ships for more than 25 years. Today, around 90 percent of all cruise liners are fitted with some form of VingCard entry system. The company's new Gangway Control System takes the security system a stage further by linking all access doors to a central control system on the ship's bridge. In an emergency, such as a fire or the threat of boarding by unauthorized personnel, all external doors can be unlocked or locked at the flick of a switch.

Gerry McMillan, Vice President, VingCard Marine, says: "The concept was an outcome of one of our regular think tank meetings, where we discussed the off-shore market: oil rigs and their supply ships, and ships working in US waters where there is need for stringent vessel documentation. And of course, there is the growing threat of piracy, which has also boosted development of the system."

control systemThe Gangway Control System can be tailored and can incorporate everything from locking doors remotely to personalized cards, cameras, printers, barcode scanners and fingerprint readers. The first customer for the system was Crystal Cruises, and VingCard has also supplied systems for Hurtigruten, the Norwegian coastal ferries. Most recently, the company has delivered Gangway to a fleet of liquefied natural gas carriers being built in Korea, and is installing systems in ten new vessels being built in Brazil.

"There is an increasing need to heighten security aboard vessels today, and we have the flexibility and capability to meet those needs," says McMillan.