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Benthos - Press Release - April 19, 2005

Benthos Stingray ROV Systems Accepted by Canada Border Services Agency for Port and Harbor Security

North Falmouth, MA (Business Wire)- Benthos, Inc. (NASDAQ: BTHS) has announced that Canada Border Services Agency (formerly Canada Customs and Revenue Agency) has accepted shipment of an additional five Stingray remotely operated vehicle (ROV) systems that were ordered in February of this year. This follows rigorous acceptance testing that was conducted by Canada Border Services Agency in March. These five additional Stingray systems will be added to the fleet of five Stingray systems that were deployed by Canada Border Services Agency throughout Canada in March 2004.

The Stingray units have proven to be highly successful in finding and identifying objects illegally attached to ships' hulls below the water line - particularly illegal drugs - and will continue to be used by the Canada Border Services Agency in port and harbor security operations. The Stingray is an inspection class ROV well suited for these security applications. For example, Stingray can inspect the critical hull areas of a 600-foot long vessel in two to three hours.

In June of 2004, a Stingray system was used to discover 83 kilograms of cocaine attached to a ship's hull in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

A Stingray system was also used last December in New Brunswick, Canada to accomplish another large drug seizure. In a news release, Canada Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced that they had confiscated 52 kilograms of cocaine that was attached to the hull of a Croatian-registered ship. The coal-carrying ship had originated in Venezuela and was targeted as needing inspection. A Stingray was dispatched with a small team of operators to conduct the search. An irregularity was discovered on the ship's hull and a RCMP diving team then quickly recovered the drugs, which were found in two plastic bags in the sea chest below the water line.

According to an article published in the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal at the time of this seizure, a Canada Border Services agent was quoted as saying, "Prior to the ROVs, in order to search a vessel's hull, (we) had to have divers and that posed risks to human health and safety. These are enormous vessels and we wanted to make sure the divers are safe."

Stingray ROV systems are small, lightweight (70 pounds) vehicles designed to perform a variety of underwater missions. They are equipped with high-resolution video cameras, lights, and powerful thrusters that allow them to operate in hostile marine environments that could pose risks to divers. A single Stingray ROV system includes an underwater vehicle, a remote control operator handbox, a topside control console, a high-resolution video display, a tether with storage reel, and a launch and recovery system.

A Benthos Stingray ROV being deployed for a ship hull inspection. (Photo: Business Wire)

Benthos, Inc., through its Undersea Systems Division, designs, manufactures, sells and services a variety of oceanographic products for underwater tasks; and through its TapTone Package Inspection Systems Division makes systems for testing consumer packages made of glass, metal or plastic. The common stock of the Company is traded on the Nasdaq SmallCap market under the symbol BTHS. For more information, Benthos can be found on the Internet at www.benthos.com.



 


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