Monday, 30 September 2013

London Gateway rail link opens early after cargo ship fire

The very first rail freight service has run out of London Gateway – two months before the port is due to open.
DB Schenker was drafted in to run an emergency service out of the new deep sea port after a cargo ship was forced to dock for maintenance after a blaze broke out on the vessel.
A fully-loaded service left London Gateway on September 24 for Db Schenker’s Trafford Park terminal.
Carsten Hinne, managing director, Logistics for DB Schenker Rail UK, said: “This has been an incredible effort and demonstrates how the team, and indeed the industry, has come together to help support ZIM and its customers.
“I haven’t seen collective support from the industry like this in any way before and it’s amazing to think we have put a service together in just a few days – let alone from a non-operational port.”
DB Schenker Rail will run regular services to Trafford Park and Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal from London Gateway when the port officially opens in November.

Ok looks good for the PR. Are all the customers happy with this whole situation and did they get the containers out of the port in an efficient manner ??. Was the London Gateway workforce / casual labour forced or persuaded to work the extra hours to complete this ship ( working time directive ). Competition is good within the port industry......but alas flexible rostering & banked hours is going back to the 1930s. London Gateway " the new modern port " NO IT IS NOT.

I think the most frustrating thing is the lack of communication from Zim / China Shipping etc. to their Customers. We all knew that LG not being officially open and there would be teething problems. But after a week after arrival, with containers still not discharged, it makes you wonder if Zim were just a bit shortsighted just wanting the "glory" of being the 1st Vessel into the new London Gateway. UK Border Agency should have also rejected it knowing that the infrastructure was not in place to accept such a Vessel.

I am not an expert on any of this just an interested bystander! We have goods on this boat. We were told on Monday that the container had been off loaded and would be delivered this week. We were then told, less than one hour later, that because the BF(?) had found traces of radio activity on some of the containers delivery was cancelled and the container was held! We have heard nothing since Monday.

Having worked on the Port of Felixstowe for the best part of 30 years in various rolls from sweeping the floors to a senior staff position, and also at the Port of Ipswich for a couple of years, again various rolls including being a Shop Steward. I feel I can comment on the posts before, one small point I would like to make is that London Gateway will end up with a recognised union, this will happen only after it is up and running. Why am I sure of this ? Well I know a few of the workforce( I was nearly one but decided it was not for me. )all who have been in the industry a few years and have worked in various ports around the world including the UK. All are members and have said that they will make it a priority to get as many of the workforce possible to join a union and indeed quite a few are already members, this will inevitably grow and grow, when the numbers reach over 50% that is the time LG will have to reconsider. I predict that within 24 months, if LG is a success ? LG will be unionised.

Suffolk: MP launches petition against A14 toll proposal

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey has launched a petition for constituents to show their opposition to proposals to impose a toll on a new stretch of the A14 in Cambridgeshire.

The proposal for a toll of between £1 and £1.50 for cars and double that for lorries has provoked anger from the business community – especially hauliers – who see it as a tax on Suffolk.
Now Dr Coffey has launched the petition on her website – and is planning to deliver 20,000 petition leaflets in the Felixstowe and Woodbridge areas.
Completed petitions will be handed in to the House of Commons before the road is finally approved.
Dr Coffey said: “We all know we need improvements on the A14 and the £1.5bn upgrade is most welcome but it should not be singled out as the only road improvement scheme to have a toll.
“I don’t want the toll to have a detrimental effect on our businesses nor do I want to see Suffolk people having to pay to sort out the problems in Cambridge.
“It is important we show the Government the strength of feeling in Suffolk and with your help I will continue to press for a change of heart at the Treasury by presenting the petition to Parliament.”
Businesses in Suffolk are concerned that they will be hit disproportionately by the toll – especially hauliers travelling to and from Felixstowe Port.
Alternative toll-free routes will be too long or too slow to make economic sense, meaning that Felixstowe is the only port in Britain where hauliers are forced to pay a toll.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Worlds biggest container ship to call at Felixstowe on Oct 7th updated

Majestic Maersk, the second example of Maersk Line's Triple-E class of ships, currently the world largest container ships, is due to make a one-off call at the Port of Felixstowe on 7th October

EEE-jumbo to visit Copenhagen, Wilhelmshaven and Felixstowe on off-schedule calls

Not only Denmark’s capital Copenhagen, but also the ports of Wilhelmshaven, Germany, and Felixstowe, UK, will see off-schedule calls by Maersk Line’s new 18,270 teu EEE-class vessel MAJESTIC MAERSK:
According to the carrier’s most recent schedule, the MAJESTIC MAERSK will sail straight to Copenhagen, where she is to be christened, from the Polish port of Gdansk.
In order to berth at the famous Langelinie Pier, where water depth is limited, the ship will discharge normally at Gdansk, but it will not load any eastbound containers.
After the Copenhagen visit, the jumbo vessel will sail directly to Gothenburg, while the AE10 service’s regular Aarhus call will be skipped.
Following the regular eastbound call at Bremerhaven, the MAJESTIC MAERSK will then make an off-schedule appearance at Wilhelmshaven, where she is expected to exchange eastbound cargo with the EUGEN MAERSK. Both ships will be trading on the AE10 and both will be on eastbound voyages. The MAJESTIC MAERSK will be a few days behind schedule because of her christening and the EUGEN will be ahead of schedule since her round-trip is to skip the Gothenburgh call.
The fact that one ship is ahead of schedule and the other behind, will allow Maersk Line to exchange cargo between the two, while the ships meet at Wilhelmshaven.
Eventually, after a routine southbound call at Rotterdam, the new MAJESTIC MAERSK will set a new record for the biggest container ship ever to call at a UK port, when visiting Felixstowe on another off-schedule call. After this, the AE10 voyage will resume normally.

  • Four STS cranes heightened to handle Maersk Triple-E vessels

Four ship-to-shore (STS) cranes at APM TerminalsAlgeciras in southern Spain are being heightened byKalmar, part of Cargotec, to prepare for the arrival ofMaersk’s Triple-E vessels, the world’s largestcontainerships.
The project, which began in June, is expected to be completed next month and will see the height of each crane, originally supplied by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd (ZPMC), increased by 5.8 metres.
“Like many ports, Port of Algeciras is seeing a significant increase in the size of ships and this means they need to find innovative solutions to increase their port side handling capacity,” said Eduardo Prat, vice president, Kalmar South EMEA.
“Increasing the STS crane height provides an expedient and cost-effective answer to boosting the crane capacity.”
The modifications will be undertaken by Kalmar’s specialist crane services team located in Algeciras, Spain, who have developed innovative systems to handle this highly technical procedure.
The specialist technique involves the Kalmar team using a jacking system which lifts the crane by the required height. A heightening construction is then inserted below the gross girders. In order to maintain the integrity and rigidity of the structure the sill beam is strengthened through bracers which are installed in the waterside portal frame.

Freight Forwarding Representatives Welcome Decision on Verification of Shipping Container Weights

IMO Committee Put Forward Draft Proposals for Safety at Sea Policy Changes 

UK – WORLDWIDE – The two options which the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was pondering on this week at the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid cargoes and Containers (DSC), regarding the future weighing of shipping containers prior to export, and which we wrote about earlier this month, have been considered and a recommendation will be forwarded to the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for approval. The decision taken has pleased the UK organisation representing the country’s forwarding community, the British International Freight Association (BIFA).
Although the committee will remain in session until the 26th or 27th, details of the preferred choice of draft amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) chapter VI has been decided upon. In an ideal world the obviously preferable option would be for all 20’ and 40’ boxes to be weighed prior to loading at the port, this also being the preference of many labour organisations, particularly given the amount of deaths and injuries caused historically by misdeclaration of weights. The vast diversities in size, quality of staff and equipment and the different nature of the huge number of global ports concerned always made this an unlikely choice.
The second option, and the one adopted and put forward to the MSC by the committee, requiring mandatory verification of the gross mass of each container, is that the draft amendments will add new paragraphs to SOLAS regulation VI/2 Cargo information to require the shipper of a container to verify the gross mass of container, and to ensure that the verified gross mass is stated in the shipping document. The packed container should not be loaded onto the ship if the verified gross mass has not been provided or obtained.
To enable this, the gross mass of each container will have to be verified by either weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or by weighing all packages and cargo items and adding the tare mass (mass of an empty container) to the sum of the single masses. What is not clear at this stage, and what the unions will no doubt be keen to clarify, is who will be authorised to declare the verified weights and from whom will they gain that authority.
The Sub-Committee further agreed that an exemption to the requirements would apply when containers carried on a chassis or trailer are driven on or off a Ro/Ro ship engaged in ‘short international voyages’, another detail requiring clarification. The draft proposals were given qualified support by BIFA, whose Director General, Peter Quantrill, said:
“The compromise proposal was most probably the best possible outcome and BIFA will now work with its members to work out how they comply with the requirements of the new rules when they come into force, without adding significant costs or causing supply chain delays. BIFA notes that the proposal still has to navigate several stages through the IMO’s legislative process and, if successful, will most likely not come into force before May 2017.
“We understand that the draft guidelines will now be forwarded to the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for approval in May 2014, and assuming that approval is forthcoming at that meeting, be formally adopted at a further meeting of the MSC in May 2015. It is usual for there to be a 24 month waiting period before SOLAS amendments take effect. Clearly the implementation of the new rules is a lengthy process that should give the industry time to adapt and allow our members time to make sure that they continue to comply with their responsibilities to make accurate cargo declarations.”

Container weighing issue

Bromma says that weigh bridges and twistlock sensors are the answer to the container weighing issue
Bromma says that weigh bridges and twistlock sensors are the answer to the container weighing issue
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has lent its support to compromise proposals for the verification of container weights at ports.
But what has been described as a “good day for maritime safety” by the Global Shippers Forum (GSF) doesn’t detract from the fact that the outcome is slightly wishy-washy - according to some.
The IMO sub-committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers has proposed two methods for container weight verification, which it says will cause minimal disruption to the supply chain.
The first method strengthens the responsibility of shippers to verify the weight of a container by weighing it in its entirety. The second method of verification allows shippers to use a calculated option where all packages and cargo items can be weighed and then added to the weight of the container.
Lars Meurling, Bromma Conquip, told Port Strategy that he welcomed the news, but that the effort needed to make this happen should not be underestimated.
Bromma’s role in the debate so far has been to let the various stakeholders know that technology exists to successfully implement weight verification at a reasonable cost and with limited effects to terminal operations.
Mr Meurling points towards weigh bridges as one possible solution. He added: “I believe that technology where the container can be weighed without affecting the operations in the terminal will be seriously considered by the operators. Solutions where sensors are installed on the spreader twistlocks can measure the weight as part of the regular lift cycle at a high accuracy.”
Not everyone’s happy with the news though. The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) says that the IMO has missed an opportunity to help improve the safety of port workers by making it mandatory to weigh all containers and providing repercussions for those who mis-declare.
It says that giving shippers the second option is a compromise that in some countries is “likely to be bedevilled by the "who will certify, when and how?” question.
If the IMO compromise proposal is accepted by SOLAS, it must then be adopted by the next IMO Maritime Safety Committee meeting scheduled for May 2014.
- See more at:

Mandatory weighing increases security

Mandatory weighing increases security

IMO's Sub-Committee on dangerous goods, solid cargoes and containers (DSC) recommend new international (SOLAS) regulation, which states that containers must not be transported by sea before they are weighed, and the shipper has informed the ship on the correct weight of them.
This is an initiative that Denmark has helped to initiate and facilitate in the IMO. The reason was repeated collapse of container stacks falling overboard containers and a number of shipping accidents where it later emerged that there were major differences between the stated and the actual weight of the onboard containers.

As container ships get bigger and bigger, it will be important for the stability of the vessel and thus also the security that one can calculate the total weight of the load.

The proposed new SOLAS regulation expected to be approved by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) in 2014.

The correct weight can be determined in two ways. This can be done by weighing the loaded container at an approved weighing station or - by an approved method - to ensure that each device in the container is weighed and combined with container weight.

Friday, 27 September 2013

EUGEN MAERSK phase-in to launch ‘AE2′ upgrade to superjumbo scale

Maersk Line’s 15,500 teu vessel EUGEN MAERSK, one of the Danish shipping line’s eight original Odense-built E-class units, is to launch the expected upgrade of Maersk’s Far East to Europe service ‘AE2′ to superjumbo scale.
Replaced on the ‘AE10′ by the increasing number of 18,270 teu EEE-class ships that phase into Maersk’s largest service, the 397m vessel will join the ‘AE2′ in late November at Busan.
As part of its European rotation – Le Havre, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Antwerp, Felixstowe – the EUGEN MAERSK will become the largest Maersk unit ever to visit Hamburg and the longest ship ever to sail up the 100 kilometre fairway of the Elbe River. Admittedly however, she will only ‘beat’ CMA CGM’s 16,020 teu vessels, which regularly visit the German main port, by as little as 170 centimetres.
Until recently the ‘AE2′ employed a fleet of eleven 8,400 teu ships on a 77-day roundtrip. Since July, the loop is receiving the vessel ‘overspill’ from the ‘AE10′, with ships of 13,000 teu and 15,500 teu to cascade down.

MSC to Challenge Maersk Line as Top Carrier

Mediterranean Shipping Co. will challenge Maersk Line as the world’s biggest ocean carrier over the coming four years, as it boasts the biggest order book for new vessels, according to industry analyst Alphaliner.
With new orders totalling 572,000 20-foot-equivalent units since 2009, Swiss-based MSC will narrow the gap with Maersk Line from 250,000 TEUs to less than 100,000 TEUs within four years. Alphaliner expects the current top 5 carriers – Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, Evergreen and Coscon – to maintain their rankings through September 2016.
Recent orders by Yang Ming Line and United Arab Shipping Company for new tonnage of 14,000 TEUs to 18,000 TEUs will propel them up the rankings, with the Taiwanese carrier set to jump from 14th to 10th and the Kuwait-based line set to jump from 19th to 14th – assuming none of their new ships are chartered out. Germany’sHapag-Lloyd is set to drop from the sixth position to the eighth, while APL is forecast to rise to sixth from eighth at present. Israeli carrier Zim is seen dropping to 20th from 17th. Alphaliner’s projections are based on carriers’ current fleet and order book and assume the return of ships that are currently chartered out.
While there will be shifts in carrier rankings, there are no signs of consolidation through mergers or any of the top 20 lines exiting the industry in the near future, Alphaliner noted. There was speculation that the decision by MISC Berhad to quit container shipping in 2012, following mounting losses and rising investment costs in ever larger vessels, would herald  a wave of consolidation as smaller lines merged or followed the Malaysian carrier out of the business.
“However, if the recent spate of new container ship ordering by several top 20 carriers is any indication of the carriers’ intentions to ensure their long-term survival in the sector, then consolidation remains a distant hope,” Alphaliner said.
Eighteen of the top 20 carriers have placed orders for new container tonnage, totalling 344 vessels with an aggregate capacity of 3.4 million TEUs since 2009, valued at $34.1 billion. Only two of the top 20, Zim and Japan’s NYK Line, have not contracted for new ships in the past four years.

Trimley: A14 lorry noise solution hope moves a step closer

Trimley councillor Graham Harding and Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey discuss the need for acoustic barriers along the A14 near Felixstowe - the next stage will be a planning application.
Richard Cornwell
Villagers have been told that a £500,000 acoustic barrier to cut traffic noise from Suffolk’s busiest road could be constructed – despite earlier doubts that it would not work.

A planning application is expected this autumn for the project, which could involve building a three-metre high fence just six feet away from existing back garden fences of properties alongside the A14 in Trimley St Mary.
Parish councillors have some doubts over whether the scheme is possible, especially as some gardens have been extended over the years onto highways land.
It had been thought the fence project might be abandoned with householders offered the opportunity of free triple-glazing to keep out the traffic din instead.
Councillor Graham Harding, who on behalf of Trimley St Mary Parish Council has been working with Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey on the issue and putting pressure on the district council and the Port of Felixstowe to resolve the noise problems, said a planning application would need very careful consideration.
He said: “I have been trying to bring this to a head and now we appear to be getting a firm offer, but it is still very contentious and we will need to go through it very carefully.
“When we spoke to residents 50% of them said no to a fence.
“A barrier may work for some but not for others.
“The planning application is expected very soon and it could come before Suffolk Coastal for a decision in October or November.”
Councillor Paul Armbruster said: “We do need to find a solution because a lot of people are affected by traffic noise.
“At The Langstons, near the dock spur roundabout, the noise is unbelievable and has got louder since the traffic lights were installed because lorries now pull away slowly and there are clouds of soot in the gardens, too.”
Councillor David Slater said 
there were also concerns about 
what the barrier would look like and fears that it could be daubed with graffiti.
When a survey was done, some residents canvassed in Fen Meadow and Thomas Avenue had been against the proposal.
If the barrier was not accepted, this would leave the only option as triple-glazing but councillors said there would need to be a clear explanation from the port and district council as to why some properties on the Farmlands estate qualified and others nearby did not.
There were concerns, though, not only about the sight of the barrier, but also that the 6ft gap – needed for maintenance – would create a corridor that might be used for anti-social behaviour or as a dump for garden waste, attracting vermin.
The scheme is set to cost a maximum of £500,000, which was 
the figure agreed for the project as part of the mitigation to offset the effects of the most recent port expansion.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

London Gateway calls for patience as Zim Rotterdam boxes start to ship out

ZIM and London Gateway, the DP World port scheduled to open in November, this morning advised cargo owners and forwarders waiting for boxes from the stricken boxship Zim Rotterdam that they are working as quickly as possible to clear the ship’s containers, which were unloaded last week. They stressed that “the service levels being experienced at present are only temporary”.
Zim Rotterdam suffered a fire last month and had been unable to berth at its destination port of Felixstowe until September 22 – although the fire had been extinguished, to comply with safety regulations the ship needed to replace its CO2 canisters which can take up to a week. London Gateway stepped in to offer the vessel a berth on September 13.
The ship’s arrival clearly put pressure on the port, which is not yet operational, and there has been some congestion after the containers were unloaded, according to forwarders.
One UK forwarder told The Loadstar: “Customs clearance has taken a long time as the containers needed to be screened by the UK Border Agency. The hauliers have been having a nightmare as there appears to be no process for collection, and I’ve heard waiting times are between six and 10 hours.
“We are not being told the timescale for delivery. London Gateway took the service and should have some customer service available.”
But the port has told forwarders: “The UK border force has reacted quickly and established a process to carry out the standard and legally required radiation checks that take place on import boxes… The permanent operational procedures are not yet available at London Gateway and so all boxes have to be individually scanned by a mobile device. This is adding extra time to the normal box clearance process.”
It added: “A temporary vehicle booking system is in place and we have tripled the customer services team to deal with the demand by cargo owners and hauliers.”
The cargo has now begun to clear, with DB Schenker yesterday launching a daily rail service to its Trafford Park terminal, while Freightliner will begin services on Friday.
DB Schenker said it had “worked tirelessly around the clock” with DP World London Gateway to develop a plan to move the containers.
“I haven’t seen collective support from the industry like this before, and it’s amazing to think we have put a service together in just a few days, let alone from a non-operational port,” Carsten Hinne, DB Schenker Rail (UK)’s managing director, logistics, told UK media.
The port is staying open 24 hours a day and hopes to clear all the remaining boxes soon.
In its advisory note, London Gateway added: “No amount of cargo is worth more than any individual. Health and safety is at the core of our business and we will continue to work quickly but as safely as possible.
“Please work with us during this time and we would like to thank all cargo owners, forwarders, and haulage companies who understand the situation that has faced both the crew and ZIM company.”
Zim Rotterdam, a 10,000teu ship and the largest cargo vessel yet to enter the Thames, left on September 22. Rafi Ben Ari, ZIM VP Shipping, said earlier this month: “While the call to DP World’s London Gateway was not planned in advance, this is certainly a happy coincidence. We are proud to call at the state-of-the-art terminal and we look forward to future co-operation with DP World London Gateway.”

Suffolk: More than 200 lorry drivers caught breaking the law on roads during week-long operation

Officers involved in the operation along with Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore who attended the operation on Tuesday, September 10.

9:40 AMMore than 200 offences were recorded and thousands of pounds of fines were handed out during a week-long crackdown on lorry drivers whose actions could put the lives of motorists at risk.

Officers from Suffolk police’s roads policing unit teamed up with colleagues from Norfolk and Essex to patrol dual carriageways in an unmarked lorry between September 9 and September 13.
The aim of the operation was to detect and record traffic offences, particularly those which can distract drivers.
In total, 230 offences were recorded with 125 drivers found not wearing seatbelts, 65 who were using mobile phones, 13 vehicles were found to have defects and four drivers were found to not be in proper control of their vehicle.
About £23,000 in fines were also dished out.Acting Sergeant Scott Lee-Amies, of the Bury St Edmunds Roads Policing and Firearms Operations Unit, said: “Once again, we are very pleased with the outcome of this operation, but it remains extremely frustrating to see the amount of drivers who feel they can flout the law.
“Our work will continue in Suffolk and Norfolk to educate lorry drivers through proactive enforcement of traffic laws, pre-planned operations and routine patrols.
“It was encouraging to see during the week of action that there weren’t so many motorists driving without wearing a seatbelt however, we are aware that too many motorists are still prepared to risk their own safety, and the safety of their passengers or other road users, by being distracted by continuing to take calls and text messages, eating and reading.”
One officer was a passenger in the unmarked lorry and when they saw an offence, they recorded it and the vehicle was then pulled over by a team of two police cars and two police motorcycles.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Husband and wife inventors set to make millions out of ingenious plastic rail that stops shipping pirates in their tracks

  • The barrier prevents pirates from boarding ships using grappling hooks and ladders because they can't get a grip
  • It has already been fitted to a 100 ships and in May this year prevented it's first attack in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Nigeria

Teresa Stevens dreamed up a plastic barrier to fit over ships’ rails and make it impossible for anyone to board from another vessel.
Together with her husband David she runs a company specialising in maritime security and the pair are celebrating after the crime-busting design put them on course to turn over £1million in their first year. 
Scroll down for video
Teresa and David Stevens have invented a simple but effective way to stop pirates hijacking ships but stopping them getting aboard in the first place
Teresa and David Stevens have invented a simple but effective way to stop pirates hijacking ships but stopping them getting aboard in the first place
The design is a large plastic P shape which is fitted over the railings of ships and hangs over them. 
It works by making it impossible for pirates to board boats by throwing ladders and grappling hooks because they can't over the ledge it forms. 
After an arduous development process the Stevens called in their local unit if marines Royal Marines to try and board a ship protected with Guardian Anti-Piracy barriers - after 2 hours they gave up and the design was declared a success. 

It is has now been fitted on more than 100 ships and in May this year saved it's first would-be victims when pirates attempted to storm a container ship of the coast of Nigeria. 
Mrs Stevens said: 'The pirates came up to the ship and were harassing it for close to an hour I think, trying to board it but they couldn't.
'In the end they got so frustrated that they shot the lifeboat to pieces but they couldn't get any further than that, we learned later that they took another ship in the same location just two hours later - obviously that one didn't have any protection. 
'The chief security officer contacted us to say they were very happy because it saved the ship and that meant the crew members were safe.
Startlingly simple: Pirates are unable to board ships protected with the Guardian barrier because their grappling hooks and ladders are unable to get grip
Startlingly simple: Pirates are unable to board ships protected with the Guardian barrier because their grappling hooks and ladders are unable to get grip
'That is absolutely why we do it, it was great to get that validation because it makes you think all that effort developing and designing, those years of hard work and living on the poverty line was worth it.'
The units appear to made from plastic but are in fact a compound UV package which makes it denser and stronger than any plastic used in any marine environment to date. 
Crucially it does not fall apart under fire and is fixed to the rails so it also screens the crew from incoming pirates  enabling them to stay out of sight and get to safety.
They can also be removed in sections making them easy to move in and out when they ships enter ports and need to allow people off but still keep stoaways and thieves out. 
They retail for £110 and most ships require between 65 and 100 units to cover all their exposed areas meaning that relative to the value of the ships they protect the barriers are hugely cost effective.
Mrs Stevens, a former chef, works alongside her husband David at their firm Marine and Auto Security Solutions in Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire.
She said that they realised after focusing their efforts on trying to remove pirates from ships that the real key was to make it impossible for them to get on board in the first place.
The Guardian Anti-Piracy Barrier prevents pirates from boarding ships by making it impossible for them to sling grappling hooks over the railings
The Guardian Anti-Piracy Barrier prevents pirates from boarding ships by making it impossible for them to sling grappling hooks over the railings
Success: The barriers have already been installed on 100 ships and the company is set to make £1million turnover in it's first year of trading
Success: The barriers have already been installed on 100 ships and the company is set to make £1million turnover in it's first year of trading
She added: 'We were working on anti-piracy and my husband came up with a way of remotely controlling a ship.
'But our customers wanted something to stop pirates getting on board in the first place, so we thought of things like ways to blast the pirates with chilli oil and other things.
'It suddenly occurred to me to put a huge plastic P over the rail to prevent the ladders and grappling hooks gripping.' 
The most common way pirates take control of ships is to sling ropes and roof ladders around the outdoor railings and then, often at night, climbing up.
But the Stevens' device has a wide plastic top which means its hooks cannot grab on. 
The success they have had so far means that they save the shipping industry millions and thwart an increasingly common problem that endangers the lives of seamen all over the world. 
Mrs Stevens added: “We tested it with Royal Marines at a local maritime school and they couldn’t get on.
'We even tied a rope on but because of the shape of the barrier, the marines could not get past the overhang.
'They tried for two hours and had to give up and it was really put through its paces in the Gulf.
'Now we have put it on probably 100 ships and are in talks with an oil rig company to supply them, as they’re based off the coast of Africa an the rig and their ships get attacked by pirates regularly.' 
Not ones to rest on their laurels, the Stevens are now working on developing a range of different sizes and shapes to protect other marine installations at threat from piracy.