To meet the rising threat towards merchant ships, AUTOPROTECTION project aims to design, build and test full-scale demonstrator of a new concept of non-lethal protection against maritime piracy.

Selected by ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, in 2013 under the first AMI Ships of the Future program, AUTOPROTECTION project under the auspices of SAGEM is developed by a consortium of French complementary industrials with the objective to develop scalable and effective solutions to protect crews and vessels against piracy.

Thus, relying on the expertise gained in particular through its activities Defense and Oil & Gas, SOFRESUD is responsible for:

  • The development of management system AUTOPROTECTION, implementing key treatments to ensure efficiency and performance of self-protection in a context of crisis (very short reaction time, minimum availability of potentially stressed operators).
  • The development of water repulsion system, including repulsion systems fleet monitoring and automatic servo using aiming system data on detected threats, to prevent unwanted boarding.

Key data

  • Budget: € 12.7 million, which €4.9 million are grants and repayable advances obtained as part of Future Investments
  • Modular and configurable based system according to ships and risks
  • Non-lethal system adapted to the constraints of the Merchant Navy
  • Automatic detection and threat assessment
  • Crew localization

Self-Defense Management System

AMS, "Autoprotection Management System” developed by SOFRESUD for self-protection vessels, provides all monitoring the situation and equipment kit:

  • Establishment and keeping in real-time situational awareness around the ship,
  • Automatic threat analysis and automatic alarm generation using rules engines,
  • Establishment of a real-time action plan and procedures adapted to help decision support
  • Monitoring / control different means.

So the crew is be relieved of its task of monitoring and is automatically notified when threatened. AUTOPROTECTION system operators have at their disposal touch pads allowing them to be immediately operational in any part of the ship. The Interface, simple and effective, provides the operator:

  • Consultation means: situation around the ship, location of the crew,
  • Decision support: parameters characterizing suspicious boats, plan responses plan
  • Action means: reactions’ validation by the system, implementation procedures, various means of self-protection kit management.

Anti-boarding system by water repulsion system

Equipment like water cannon type are theoretically effective for short-range solutions to prevent the boarding. In practice, their operational interest is limited because of the constraints of implementation involving the presence of an operator nearby to direct the water jet.

The system designed SOFRESUD to ward off by water, overcomes the limitations of conventional lances, whose efficacy in short range to prevent the boarding is undermined, as we said due to operational constraints of implementation involving the presence of an operator to direct the water jet .

SOFRESUD water repulsion system does not require operator intervention: the water jet is controlled automatically on pirate boat based on proximal vision camera, watching around the immediate environment of the ship and innovative image processing to monitor the threat during its final approach, as in the boarding try than in the phases of boarding by using ladders.


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