In response to the ongoing threat of piracy in shipping, France and Japan are allowing armed guards on their ships, said U.K. maritime security company GoAGT.
Gerry Northwood OBE, Chief Operating Officer for the company, said, “Countries that have not adopted these procedures yet should do so if the world’s shipping routes are to remain safe. Also, there is always the risk from international terrorists.”
The introduction of a change in law regarding armed guards on Japanese registered oil tankers must be seen as a reminder that piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean Region (IOR) are a real concern and have been acted upon accordingly by their government.
Northwood added, “Armed security teams on Japanese oil tankers will help improve the layered defense system which has already been adopted by many other flag state nations. It is a strong message being sent out to any Pirate Action Group that Japanese registered tankers are not a soft target and that they have acted accordingly to address the risk posed.”
Nick Davis, Chief Executive Officer of GoAGT, said, “The change in policy demonstrated by France highlights that the issue of piracy is maybe penetrating deeper with French concerns, extending to the security of its own energy supplies. Whilst many fear activity in the Gulf of Aden and IOR, there are wider regions that are becoming more fragile and susceptible to piracy such as the Gulf of Guinea, which must be recognized too as a growing hot bed of concern.”
He added, “The piracy threat is still present off Somalia and growing in other regions such as West Africa, and countries and individual shipping companies need to be on their guard. We also have to recognize that international terrorist groups could turn their attention to soft maritime targets at any time so any increase in protection is welcomed.”