Writhing water hose system designed to thwart pirates
By Ben Coxworth
April 27, 2012
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.
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.