Feb 182011

ADE 651, one of several explosives/drugs/stowaway detectors that are not fit for purpose

Following the arrest of Major General Jihad al-Jabiri, commander of the bomb squad in Iraq, on corruption charges related to the controversial ADE-651 explosives detector Maritime Accident Casebook has developed and issued a briefing paper for Ship Security Officers and others with a security remit. The ADE651 and similar devices are widely used in South and South East Asia, China and Belgium and present a risk to seafarers, their ships and cargo.

Although the UK government has banned exports of the ADE651 and similar devices to Iraq and Afghanistan exports to other countries are permitted. Mexico’s Pemex has bought several of the devices for use in defending its facilities and China and Belgium reportedly use the devices in ports.

Says Bob Couttie, administrator of Maritime Accident Casebook says: “These devices claim to be able to detect explosives, drugs and stowaways. They do not work and are not fit for purpose. Apart from exposing vessels and crews to terrorist attack, these devices can also lead to innocent crew and ships being detained for drugs offences.

“It is important that these devices are known and identified and, where possible, avoided.”

The briefing paper provides background information on the devices and their development, means of identifying the devices and suggests defensive responses when faced with security or law enforcement personnel using the devices.

“The failure of these devices to do what they claim to do has already taken many lives ashore, we should ensure that they do not have the opportunity to take away the lives or liberty of seafarers.

The briefing can be downloaded here

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