OP/ED: The State of Piracy

marinelink.com
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
John Thompson, co-founder of Ambrey Risk

Piracy’s gone away, right? You’d be forgiven for thinking that.

 

The predominant narrative for the Indian Ocean is that Piracy has been suppressed to an extent that ship-owners are requesting fewer guards, even unarmed in some cases. Certainly private security team composition has adjusted beneath the “rule of four” and the nationality of guards has shifted significantly away from the UK only model. But given the recent attacks in South East Asia and the prevailing amount of maritime crime and piracy off the Gulf of Guinea, Piracy hasn’t been eradicated at all; it’s simply evolved and will continue to change as it has done for hundreds of years presenting a threat to global maritime trade.

The increased profile of South East Asia/Gulf of Guinea maritime crime and Piracy presents a challenge for PMSCs to offer a global client base effective risk management/mitigation services that can meet their needs. These threats can range from Somali style kidnap of crew and vessel for ransom, to Nigerian style extended duration robbery and kidnap to violent robbery in the Malacca straits. They are all very different and PMSCs must have a range of capabilities in order to advise shipowners properly. The challenge for the ship-owner is to select their PMSC carefully and build a long-term relationship based on detailed mutual understanding and trust.

The recent extension of international naval commitment off Somalia out to 2016 demonstrates that international naval forces view the significant cost of their presence worthwhile and necessary.  PMSCs will continue to be required for ship owners/operators to demonstrate that they take the safety and security of their crew seriously and to guarantee security in the many areas where the international naval forces cannot react swiftly.  It is clear that the structures onshore in Somalia that support Piracy are still very much intact, with an estimated 40 seafarers still held captive; where piracy might easily return at short notice.
 
The reality is that the ship owner will ultimately turn to the IMO/BIMCO for guidance and they in turn will rely on international naval forces to determine policy.  Recent extensions suggest therefore that guidance will not change significantly over the next 12 to 24 months, even if attacks do not resurface.  Undoubtedly the dynamic onshore will continue to change, but the overall trajectory is some way from being decisively clear.  In the interim it is the role of PMSCs to provide a cost effective, compliant service that provides the ultimate insurance to shipowners in an uncertain environment.

The reduced frequency of Pirate attacks within the Somali Basin and wider Indian Ocean might appear ironic given the sheer change in the private maritime security sector. It is un-recognizable, with self-regulation coming in at such a rapid pace; the security companies should be applauded for their adaptation to change. Increasingly ISO accredited, they’re firmly part of the Commercial Shipping Industry supply chain, where PMSC’s are members of Shipping Associations and reflect an industry driven and governed by standards, quality and safety. Established PMSC’s, like Ambrey, have their own in-house training facilities, with courses ranging from ‘First Person on Scene’ and ‘First Aid’ through to City & Guild Accredited courses to prepare an individual for the private security sector.

Further afield, the threat has adapted to present fresh challenges to Ship-owners. The Gulf of Guinea is beset with many problems on and offshore, where criminals are proving adept at moving between basic product theft (bunkering) through to the targeting of high value internationals for kidnap and subsequent ransom. Wider still are West Africa’s challenges of overcoming transnational organised crime: extortion, national embezzlement, human trafficking, drug & arms smuggling and of course piracy. The recent intervention by the Nigerian Navy is policing their territorial waters and making the use of private suppliers illegal is a concern and indicative of a region struggling to create consistency in combating maritime crime. In South East Asia, piracy attacks have apparently become more prevalent, where attacks have been mainly focused on robbery at sea, some product theft but displaying a capability to move towards hijack. The ‘surge’ of attacks is more likely down to better reporting than an actual increase in maritime crime, but this in itself is welcome, where the sharing of information is wider, more transparent and consistent. In this region, the private armed deterrent is unlikely to be utilised with so many states surrounding these crucial sea-lanes, but as in West Africa, PMSC’s might be able to respond in support to existing Navies and Coastguards.

Piracy and Maritime Crime has not changed a great deal, there will continue to be individuals seeking to profit illegally on the high seas, but the nature of the threat evolves. Increasingly viewed as a credible and effective option, the Private Maritime Security sector continues to adapt its offering to mitigate and manage the risk to its clients operating in a complex environment. Private Maritime Security might be an uncomfortable part of the supply chain perhaps, but integral to the safe passage of cargo, vessel and crew.

John Thompson is a co-founder of Ambrey Risk


 

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter May 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Portugal PM Warns Lisbon Dock Workers to End Strike

Portugal's prime minister warned Lisbon dock workers on Friday that his patience was running out after a strike that has lasted a month, paralysing the city's ports.

Gender Identity Spat Sinks Spending Bill

The rancorous political debate over sexual identity unexpectedly prompted the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to rejected an energy and water spending

Hercules Offshore Filing for Bankruptcy Again

Hercules Offshore Inc said it planned to file for prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just six months after the rig contractor emerged from bankruptcy protection.

Offshore

Hercules Offshore Filing for Bankruptcy Again

Hercules Offshore Inc said it planned to file for prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just six months after the rig contractor emerged from bankruptcy protection.

DONG Energy Listing to Value Group at up to $16 Bln

DONG Energy's has set a potential $16 billion price tag on its stock market debut, giving investors a chance to buy into the growth in offshore wind power, but

Østensjø Rederi Orders Another Wind Farm Vessel

Rolls-Royce has signed a contract with shipyard Astilleros Gondan in Spain to design and equip a second Service Operation Vessel for ship owner Østensjø Rederi.

Energy

Hercules Offshore Filing for Bankruptcy Again

Hercules Offshore Inc said it planned to file for prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just six months after the rig contractor emerged from bankruptcy protection.

Strike Idles 38 Oil Tankers at Fos-Lavera

Some 38 oil tankers have been held up at the Fos-Lavera oil port in southern France, the country's biggest, including 25 at harbour, up from 12 the previous day,

Höegh LNG Turns to Profit in 1Q

Höegh LNG returned to profit following a Profit after tax of USD 6.3 million for the first quarter of 2016, up from USD 4.0 million net loss in the fourth quarter 2015.

Maritime Security

SAFE Boats Delivers First CIV for Air and Marine Operations

SAFE Boats International (SBI), a manufacturer of aluminum boats located in Bremerton, Wash., has completed the first Coastal Interceptor Vessel (CIV) on contract from U.

Aquino: China Breaks South China Sea Deal

Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Thursday accused China of breaking a U.S.-brokered deal between the two nations on the Scarborough Shoal, an uninhabited rocky outcrop in the South China Sea.

US, Thailand Naval Exercise in Andaman Sea

The U.S. Navy (USN) and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) kicked off Exercise Guardian Sea, Andaman Sea comprising bilateral naval training drills that aim to enhance

Government Update

Details El Faro's Sinking Emerge from US Probe

U.S. investigators on Friday concluded two weeks of hearings into the sinking of cargo ship El Faro in a hurricane last fall that included reports the vessel had

Defense Appropriations Bill Includes $1 Bln for US Icebreaker

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill has included $1 billion in funding to accelerate construction of a new polar icebreaker for the U.

DSC Dredge Receives President’s E-Star Award

DSC Dredge, LLC, based in Reserve, La., has received the 2016 President’s “E-Star” Award for exports.   In a ceremony held on May 16, 2016, at the U.S. Department

Logistics

Higher Capesize Demand Pushes up Baltic Index

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose on Friday buoyed by higher demand for capesize vessels.

DSC Dredge Receives President’s E-Star Award

DSC Dredge, LLC, based in Reserve, La., has received the 2016 President’s “E-Star” Award for exports.   In a ceremony held on May 16, 2016, at the U.S. Department

Portugal PM Warns Lisbon Dock Workers to End Strike

Portugal's prime minister warned Lisbon dock workers on Friday that his patience was running out after a strike that has lasted a month, paralysing the city's ports.

Offshore Energy

Hercules Offshore Filing for Bankruptcy Again

Hercules Offshore Inc said it planned to file for prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just six months after the rig contractor emerged from bankruptcy protection.

VOS Sugar First Charter

The newest addition to Vroon’s fleet, subsea-support vessel (SSV) VOS Sugar, recently started work in the BARD Offshore 1 Offshore Wind Farm (OWF). The vessel

China COSCO Moving to Offshore Winds

China COSCO Shipping, which uses bulk carriers and container vessels to transport goods, has seen its cargo business decline amid China's slowdown and has decided

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
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: 0.1715 sec (6 req/sec)