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Battelle Progresses Toward Deployment of Harbor Shield

Posted on Dec 6, 2010


COLUMBUS, OH., 6 December, 2010—Battelle, with sponsorship from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), is developing a system called Harbor ShieldTM that uses an innovative combination of sensors and computer technology to increase the security of ports.

At ports, there is potential for illegal drugs, contraband or terrorist devices such as dirty bombs or weapons of mass destruction to be affixed to boats with or without the crew’s knowledge.  Harbor ShieldTM is designed to scan the underhulls of ships for any aberrations as they enter ports and harbors, then provide images to authorities. The system would employ a variety of underwater scanners and sensors at a harbor’s entrance to get a snapshot of the ship while it’s underway, processing and merging data in an efficient way and communicating that highly useful information to harbor authority and security personnel.

“Harbor ShieldTM is an important part of an integrated port security system,” said Pam Hurst, Battelle’s senior market manager for Navy undersea systems. “The system could be deployed at naval facilities, domestic ports, and other locations including the Panama Canal, St. Lawrence Seaway, cruise ship docks, and river entrances.”

Development of the patented system began in 2007, with a proof-of-concept study in the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. The ONR then funded the design and fabrication of test hardware for a full-scale demonstration portal. Now, funding for a second phase of the Harbor ShieldTM development project has been provided by ONR. During this phase, the hardware will be installed and operated at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI, and in the Narragansett Bay shipping channel, and data from ship traffic will be collected and analyzed.

Rich Granger, Battelle’s project manager for the Harbor ShieldTM program, recently presented a paper at the Maritime Systems and Technology (MAST) conference in the Washington D.C. area. “This next phase of development is key to understanding data from military and commercial ships,” he said. “This demonstration will show that underhull scanning can be performed while vessels are in transit under a wide variety of environmental conditions.”

As a ship passes through the Harbor ShieldTM array, its characteristics will be analyzed and entered into a library. If an anomaly is detected, the operator will be notified and appropriate security actions will be taken.  Each time the ship passes through again, new data will be compared to previous scans. This is intended to increase security and improve efficiencies for both the ship operator and the port.   

About Battelle

As the world’s largest independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing needs through its four global businesses:  Laboratory Management; National Security; Health and Life Sciences; and Energy, Environment and Material Sciences. It advances scientific discovery and application by conducting $6.2 billion in global R&D annually through contract research, laboratory management and technology commercialization. 

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide, including eight national laboratories for which Battelle has a significant management role on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the United Kingdom.

Battelle also is one of the nation’s leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or, or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or



Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208

T.R. Massey

Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544