The tragic loss of life on board the S/V Quest last week, which saw four American citizens die at the hands of Somali pirates, has once again raised the issue of the use of force into the headlines. The killings come as the shipping industry reconsiders its position on the presence of weapons on board vessels, with the UAE Shipping Association (UAESA) reversing their decision against the use of private security guards aboard commercial vessels.
In the case of the S/V Quest, it would appear that negotiations between US forces and the pirates went seriously wrong, with terrible consequences. Early reports from US Central Command stated that during negotiations between the US Navy and pirates, US forces heard gunfire coming from the Quest at around 0600. Navy Seals then boarded the vessel without firing a shot, later killing two pirates while taking control of the vessel. During a search they then discovered the four American hostages had been shot and, although at least one was alive at the time of discovery, efforts to treat the hostages were unsuccessful*.
As the horrific events aboard the S/V Quest have proved, the dynamics of modern piracy are fluid, with no single vessel type targeted by opportunists. That is why diligent planning, good intelligence and the use of recognised experts are now more important than ever. With members of the UAESA now free to employ armed security teams on board their vessels, it would seem that the industry is finally beginning to realise that prevention is better than cure. Maritime piracy has morphed into a dangerous pandemic, with scores of seamen held captive in Somalia in terrible conditions, the threat of torture or death close at hand, while their pirate captors enjoyed $238 million in ransoms in 2010*.
Neptune Maritime Security is the leader in its field, and offers experienced, well-trained operatives who fully understand the needs of today’s shipping companies and have the training and ability to confront any security situation. We appreciate the value commercial shipping companies place not only on their cargo and reputation, but also upon their crew. Neptune Maritime Security employs meticulous planning and strategy experts to ensure the safe passage of any vessel in our care, regardless of status or size.
Source: Neptune Maritime Security