Dryad Maritime Welcomes Japanese Plans

MarineLink.com
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dryad Maritime, a U.K. commercial maritime intelligence company, welcomed the Japanese government’s plans to submit a bill to the National Diet which will permit the carriage of armed guards on Japanese-flagged vessels but advise that a number of other precautions must also be taken.

The Japan Times last week reported on Japanese government plans to submit a bill to the National Diet that would permit armed guards to operate on Japanese ships given the view that their presence on other vessels in waters off Somalia has led to a sharp fall in piracy. Current Japanese law prohibits Japan-registered ships from carrying armed private citizens. If this proposed legislation is approved Japanese ships will be permitted to employ private security contractors to provide armed guards.

Ian Millen, Dryad’s Director of Intelligence, said, “The Japanese government’s intention to legislate for the carriage of armed guards is a welcome step toward safer transits of High Risk Areas. There is no doubt that the embarkation of armed protection has significantly contributed to the decrease in successful pirate attacks in both the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden over the last 18 months.

"However, it is by no means a panacea and should be considered as only one of a range of measures which, if deployed in a coordinated manner, can significantly reduce the risk of a Japanese merchant vessel falling into the hands of determined maritime criminals. Full adoption of the measures contained within the IMO-sanctioned Best Management Practice (BMP4), cooperation with regional bodies and international naval forces, alongside the provision of proper risk-based routing and vessel transit monitoring are all positive factors in keeping vessels out of pirate hands.”

“Whilst we have not seen a successful hijack of a large merchant vessel since the MT Smyrni in May 2012, we have seen Somali pirates engage in a number of aborted attacks against merchant vessels with armed guards on board. There have also been many instances where potential pirates have approached a vessel, only to break off their interest when it becomes clear to them that armed guards are present on board. The embarked security team’s visible demonstration of weapons to the potential attackers is often sufficient deterrent to change the risk/reward ratio for the pirates.”

According to The Japan Times, 18,000 ships annually sail through the Gulf of Aden including about 1,700 ships registered in Japan or operated by Japanese shipping companies. The total number of ships attacked by pirates in the gulf and nearby waters off Somalia jumped from 44 in 2007 to 111 in 2008 and 237 in 2011. The article went on to say that, since 2007, 13 Japanese ships have been attacked. In March 2011, the Bahamian-registered oil tanker Guanabara, operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd, was boarded in the Arabian Sea. Following U.S. military intervention four pirates were seized and handed over to Japanese authorities for trial in Japan. The significant drop in pirate activity in 2012, following the adoption of armed guards by a number of Flag States (including the UK) is thought to be a key factor in the Japanese desire to change national legislation.

‘We must not underestimate the value of a vigilant crew, for example during the attempted hijack of the Danish-flagged vessel, Torm Kristina, in the Gulf of Oman in December 2012. Whilst the ship did not have guards on board, the actions of the crew in detecting the threat, raising the alarm and retreating to a citadel whilst the pirates were delayed by razor wire, prevented a pirate boarding turning into a hijack. With no control of the ship and the impending arrival of naval forces, the pirates decided to run.”

“Armed guards are not for everyone and the vast majority of vessels transiting or trading in the High Risk Area (HRA) of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden do not employ them. Those that have them can point to their success, given the fact that no vessel with armed guards on board has ever been hijacked. However, this does not mean that all those that do not have them will be. As with Japan’s current position, a number of flag states do not allow them to be embarked, whilst owners and charterers may choose other, cheaper measures to mitigate the risk of pirate attack.”

“Dryad recommends a layered defence approach in countering the threat of Somali piracy, of which the provision of physical security is a very effective component. The move toward allowing the embarkation of armed guards on Japanese-registered vessels will doubtless bolster their vessels’ defences and further reduce the risk of pirate attack and hijack.”

Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Maritime Security

Pirates Raid Tanker off Malaysia, 3 Mariners Taken

Armed pirates raided an oil tanker off the coast of Malaysia and took three crew members with them, Malaysian maritime officials said on Wednesday, underscoring

Coast Guard Pacific Area receives new commander

Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray relieved Vice Adm. Paul F. Zukunft as Commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area and Coast Guard Defense Forces West, in a change of command

European Launch of SMS at Counter Terror Expo

Kelvin Hughes is delighted to announce that it will be displaying its new Single Mast Solution (SMS) at Counter Terror Expo 2014 from April 29-30. This will be

Government Update

Korean Prosecutors Raid Home of Ferry's Owner

Prosecutors investigating the fatal sinking of a South Korean ferry have raided the home of Yoo Byung-un, the head of a family that owns the Chonghaejin Marine Co.

UK Subsidises 8 Renewable Energy Contracts

The British government on Wednesday awarded investment contracts under a new subsidy regime to eight renewable energy projects, including five offshore wind farms and three biomass plants.

China's Seizure of Japanese Ship has Pre-WWII Roots

It all began with a pre-World War II contract between China's then "ship king" and a Japanese company to lease two Chinese freighters. When the one-year lease was up in 1937,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1244 sec (8 req/sec)