Could Vermont-Made Device Curb Pirate Attacks? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Could Vermont-Made Device Curb Pirate Attacks?

Stowe, Vermont - April 14, 2009

Moscow Mills Manufacturing grinds out all sorts of metal and plastic parts for the aerospace, defense, and high-tech sectors. But one specific device has been the talk of the mill while the staff watched the saga of now-rescued freight captain Richard Phillips unfold. Company president Anderson Leveille says, "It hits close to home, very close to home!"

Moscow Mills and a Massachusetts engineering firm developed something they call the Boat Trap. It launches a 30-foot net that tangles a boat's motor, disabling the vessel. Leveille says ships could use his tool to keep pirates far away, explaining it will help deny them access.

The Boat Trap was originally meant to curb drug running, or block terrorists from another USS Cole-style attack. But last week's capture of Captain Phillips' freight liner has shippers and governments discussing how to protect crews from pirate attacks.

Anderson Leveille says, "It's an issue that's been brought to the fore because they did it to a U.S.-flagged ship, whereas it's been an issue in other countries for years and years."

The company has been in touch with the Navy, Coast Guard, and other agencies, but can't talk about sales because of security agreements. It will say early tests were well-received by security officials and Moscow Mills hopes to sign several contracts for The Boat Trap over the next year.

For now, the staff here, along with the rest of Richard Phillips' home state, are thankful for the brave captain's safety. Employee Rich Perrott says, "I was glad it came to a good ending and everything worked out well."

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy has championed the Boat Trap, saying technology like it can provide security and peace of mind to American service personnel.

Jack Thurston - WCAX News

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