By Dialogo May 17, 2012 On May 15, the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) urged the countries of the region to ratify an Arms Trade Treaty that the UN has been promoting since 2006, aimed at eradicating illegal trafficking, the organization announced in a statement. Parlacen called on the states of the Central American Integration System (SICA) to back the UN initiative this July and thereby counter the proliferation of illegal arms in the region. The parliamentary deputies of the Central American forum, headquartered in Guatemala, said that each year, “more than one million weapons are illegally trafficked in the region, leading to around 20,000 people becoming their victims.” “Along these lines, it is important that the states of the region adhere to and ratify those international instruments that tend toward the eradication of arms trafficking, something that has a direct impact on peace-building and democratic security,” the parliament recommended. According to Parlacen, the UN has urged the formulation of the treaty since 2006, and already in 2009, it created a committee to promote and debate the regulation of the international arms trade. “Latin America and the Caribbean have participated in these efforts, which will culminate in the final negotiation of the instrument in July 2012, in which Central America and the Dominican Republic should participate with joint positions,” the parliament emphasized. The statement will be sent to foreign ministries, legislatures, the UN, and the SICA general secretariat. Parlacen is composed of permanent representatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, as well as observers from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, and Venezuela. Costa Rica is not part of this forum, although it is a member of SICA.
ABP Humber has increased its technology for hydrographic surveying with the purchase of a new Carlson Merlin lidar scanner supplied by Swathe Services.The Merlin is a vessel-based 3D mobile laser scanner system developed specifically for coastal, offshore and inland waterway surveying. ABP Humber intends to use the system for quay wall inspections and surveying offshore structures.James Williams, managing director of Swathe Services, said: “The Merlin is a fantastic system for any 3D survey operations and we’re delighted that ABP Humber has added a Merlin to their existing survey equipment.”The Merlin is designed to integrate with existing hydrographic systems to simultaneously produce an accurate dataset of the environment above the waterline while a multibeam echosounder maps everything below the waterline to produce high-resolution datasets in a single pass.Mike Abbey, hydrographer at Associated British Ports said: “We are very impressed by the products supplied by Swathe Services and the Merlin 3D laser scanner is no exception. We needed to map the quay walls both above and below the waterline simultaneously as well as scan offshore structures, and the Merlin fit’s with our existing set up to do this in real time producing accurate data.”