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 Reporter May 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

EIVA Welcomes New Global Director

The Danish offshore survey solution specialist EIVA a/s has appointed a new global sales director, Jakob Møller Nielsen. He comes from a similar position at SPX Flow Technology,

ASRY in Maritime Deal with Relay

UK-based engineering firm signs service agreement to provide direct services to vessels in ASRY, expanding the list of the yard’s onsite specialist contractors.

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

Energy

EIVA Welcomes New Global Director

The Danish offshore survey solution specialist EIVA a/s has appointed a new global sales director, Jakob Møller Nielsen. He comes from a similar position at SPX Flow Technology,

Harnessing Offshore Wind Peaks in U.S.

For the US energy industry, 2014 will be remembered as the year when crude oil prices fell below 50$/bbl, resulting in significant realignments in the sector.

DNV GL’s Synergi to Manage Siem Offshore Newbuilding Projects

Siem Offshore has chosen DNV GL’s Synergi Project to manage nine newbuilding projects. Synergi Project software The software is used to optimize the collaboration

Maritime Security

Singapore and China Conclude Naval Drill

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the People's Liberation Army (Navy) (PLAN) concluded the inaugural Exercise Maritime Cooperation, a new bilateral naval exercise series on Tuesday (May 26).

Japan, Malaysia to Beef up Maritime Cooperation

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak pledged to advance defense and maritime cooperation.   It is the first time that

Libyan War Plane Bombs another Tanker

A fighter jet operated by Libya's military force backed attacked an oil tanker that was about to anchor in the northern city of Sirte, reports local media.   Lt Gen.

Government Update

Solarworld Wants Duties on Chinese Solar Goods in U.S. Extended

German solar manufacturer SolarWorld will apply to the United States for an extension of duties on Chinese panel imports that are due to end this year, weekly Euro am Sonntag said.

Alaska, Washington to build Arctic Icebreakers

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington, have introduced a bill that would authorize the Navy to build up six icebreakers for use by the U.

Launch of First Future Destroyer, Hobart

Speech delivered by the Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews during the launch of Hobart - the first future destroyer: Thank you for being here on this very important day.

Logistics

Harnessing Offshore Wind Peaks in U.S.

For the US energy industry, 2014 will be remembered as the year when crude oil prices fell below 50$/bbl, resulting in significant realignments in the sector.

Avance VLGCs Fixed

Avance Gas said repairs of two very large gas carriers (VLGCs) are complete, allowing the delayed ships to get to work.   Both new build VLGCs recently dry-docked - Breeze (83,

Maersk Line to Reduce CO2 Emission per Container by 60%

The world’s largest container shipping company Maersk Line has set itself a bold new target to cut CO2 emissions by 60% by 2020.   The company has stated that

Offshore Energy

EIVA Welcomes New Global Director

The Danish offshore survey solution specialist EIVA a/s has appointed a new global sales director, Jakob Møller Nielsen. He comes from a similar position at SPX Flow Technology,

ASRY in Maritime Deal with Relay

UK-based engineering firm signs service agreement to provide direct services to vessels in ASRY, expanding the list of the yard’s onsite specialist contractors.

Harnessing Offshore Wind Peaks in U.S.

For the US energy industry, 2014 will be remembered as the year when crude oil prices fell below 50$/bbl, resulting in significant realignments in the sector.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction 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: 0.2242 sec (4 req/sec)