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A new approach is proposed for ship detection, based on the generalized optimization of polarimetric contrast enhancement (OPCE). The new approach consists of two steps. For the first step, the OPCE problem will be solved for obtaining optimal polarizations. In this way, the received powers of a sea area are suppressed. For the second step, we construct a function which not only contains the power term but also contains a term associated with the scattering mechanism. Three optimal coefficients will be obtained such that the variance of the function values of a sea clutter area is minimal. In this way, ships on the sea area are detected. Using two examples, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach for ship detection.