by Brittany Damora
On the day a South Korean ship was attacked by pirates, the “Security Threats to Korean Business Operating Overseas” conference, run by Assist Card Korea, heard evidence in support of intelligence-led protection and unarmed solutions to piracy from UK-based risk consultancy AKE Group
The incident reflects an increase in piracy against South Korean vessels
and highlights growing public support for armed solutions--as well as demonstrating the practical non-lethal methods that actually defused this attack.
Non-lethal techniques use intelligence to understand the modus operandi of pirates and their capabilities. Vessel hardening with wire and improvised tools, safe rooms to protect crew, security training and contingency plans come at minimal cost and promote risk-awareness. The most successful maritime security techniques boil down to economics and risk mitigation, saving lives and saving money.
Using the armed guards advocated by many is also likely to be counterproductive in the long-term. Bringing more weapons into the region will, intelligence analysis suggests, make pirates invest ransoms into more powerful weaponry, escalating the use of force and ultimately increasing fatalities. Invalid weapon licences, legal problems or accidental deaths will hurt the reputation of companies found at fault.
AKE’s message that preventative and non-confrontational anti-piracy measures work both in theory and in practice was underscored when the pirates’ attempt to hijack the Tianjin failed after the captain ordered all 20 crew to hide in a bullet-proof citadel inside the ship.
Brittany Damora is a Risk Consultant based in London and Singapore with
AKE Ltd. an international security and risk-analysis firm.