Gerry Northwood News

17 Jul 2019

Unarmed Guards Deployed to Navigate Gulf

File Image: AdobeStock / © Taras

Shipping companies are hiring unarmed security guards for voyages through the Middle East Gulf as an extra safeguard after a wave of attacks in the region, security companies involved said.Relations between Iran and the West are increasingly strained after Britain seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar this month. Britain also said last week that one of its warships had to fend off Iranian vessels seeking to block a UK-owned tanker from passing through the Strait of Hormuz.As the risk of escalation grows…

09 May 2017

Yemen War Adds to Shipping Fears in Horn of Africa

Photo: EU NAVFOR

Yemen's worsening conflict is contributing to a spike in piracy in the region, with Somali pirates taking advantage of a reduced international naval presence and more readily available weaponry to carry out attacks. "The regional instability caused by Yemen is important," Colonel Richard Cantrill, chief of staff with the European Union's counter piracy mission EU NAVFOR, told Reuters last week. Fighting between Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition has spilled over into the shipping lanes through which much of the world's oil passes.

20 Jan 2017

Shippers Avoid New "pirate hotspot" west of Philippines

file Image: Pirates off the coast of Somalia are intercepted and disarmed. (Credit: EUNAVFOR)

Piracy has surged in Sulu, Celebes Seas; waters part of route carrying iron ore to Asia. A surge in piracy to the west of the Philippines is forcing shipowners to divert vessels through other waters, stoking their costs and extending the time it takes to transport goods such as Australian iron ore to key Asian destinations. There have been 16 attacks since last March on ships in the Sulu and Celebes Seas, through which about $40 billion worth of cargo passes each year, according to the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

13 Jan 2017

Pirates Attacking Bigger Ships off Philippines

File Image: a piracy interdiction operation (Credit: IMB)

Attacks in waters east of Philippines shift to big ships; ReCAAP, security groups recommend avoiding Sulu and Celebes Seas. Asian pirates are focusing more of their attacks on larger merchant ships near the Philippines, hoping for bigger ransom payments from kidnapping their crew, the head of a regional anti-piracy body said on Friday. The region's pirates have changed tactics since October, to target some of the biggest ships travelling through the Sulu and Celebes Seas, and paying less attention to small tugs and fishing boats.

08 Nov 2016

Ships More at Risk After First Somali Pirate Attack in Years

File photo: Euronav

Merchant vessels sailing through busy shipping lanes between Somalia and Yemen may be underestimating the risk of piracy and terrorism following two attempted attacks last month, maritime officials say. More than 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil supplies pass through the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, a major shipping lane also used to move exports and commodities such as food between Asia and Europe. The European Union's counter-piracy naval force (EU Navfor) confirmed on Nov. 4 that six armed men attacked chemical tanker CPO Korea 330 nautical miles (610 km) east of Somalia on Oct.

12 Oct 2016

Evidence Suggests Houthi Role in Strike on US Warship

USS Mason file photo (U.S. Navy photo by Jeff Swaim)

The United States is seeing growing indications that Iran-allied Houthi rebels, despite denials, were responsible for Sunday's attack on a Navy destroyer off the Yemen coast, U.S. officials told Reuters. The rebels appeared to use small skiffs as spotters to help direct a missile attack on the warship, said U.S. officials, who are not authorized to speak publicly because the investigation is ongoing. The United States is also investigating the possibility that a radar station under Houthi control in Yemen might have also "painted" the USS Mason…

30 Jun 2016

MAST, AMSA Partner for Risk Management Services

Phil Cable (Photo: MAST)

Maritime security company Maritime Asset Security Training (MAST) has announced their partnership with Astbury Marine Services & Associates (AMSA), a specialist shipping and insurance response business. The combination of front-line experience and industry knowledge place MAST and AMSA as leaders in their field. The two companies will work together to provide an increased portfolio of risk management services to clients trading in difficult or complex environments. These include support following an insurance incident…

15 Dec 2015

Russia Supplies Syria Mission with Turkey's Old Cargo Ships

Earlier this year, an old refrigerator ship called the Georgiy Agafonov, built to transport fruit and vegetables for the Soviet Union, was quietly gathering rust in the Ukrainian port of Izmail where the Danube flows into the Black Sea. Its owners, a Ukrainian state company, assumed it would never sail again. When a Turkish company offered to buy it for $300,000, they watched as the hulk was towed away, presumably for scrap. Nine months later the ship is back at sea, renamed Kazan-60, reflagged as part of Russia's naval auxiliary fleet, and repurposed as an unlikely part of Moscow's biggest military operation outside the old Soviet boundaries since the Cold War.

15 Sep 2015

Security in the Indian Ocean Fragile -MAST

The security situation in the Indian Ocean could quickly change for the worse, according to maritime security company MAST. Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST, said, “For commercial shipping, the Indian Ocean is arguably the safest ocean on the planet. “Yet we continue to see speculative approaches by skiffs equipped with assault rifles and ladders,” Northwood said. “A MAST team recently fired warning shots at a skiff to prevent a boarding attempt in the southern Red Sea. “There are other warning signs indicating the security situation could deteriorate,” He added. Alan Cole, an official at the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, expressed concern that illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean and Horn of Africa might be a catalyst for a return to piracy.

27 Aug 2015

Shippers Cannot Relax Their Guard in SE Asia -MAST

Following a spate of six attacks in the Singapore Straight over the weekend, maritime security provider MAST is calling for shipping companies to strengthen their approach to maritime security in South East Asia. “Shipping companies need to look at Best Management Practices (BMP) 4 applied in the Indian Ocean and now adapt it to counter the threat posed by local criminals in SE Asia,” said Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST. BMP4 has been effective in providing a framework for passive security measures, such as watch-keeping and enhanced vigilance, and hardening vessels transiting through the Indian Ocean so that even an unarmed merchant ship, while by no means impregnable to an attack by pirates, is now much harder to capture.

09 Jul 2015

Ships Still at Risk in Libya Ports

The restructuring of port facilities in Libya will only take place when a unity government is in place, says British maritime security company MAST. “UN sponsored unity government negotiations appear to have stalled for now, with the Tripoli government withdrawing from the talks,” said Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST. “These talks will be partly driven by the common interest in fighting ISIL, but achieving the level of agreement required to form a unity government is unlikely in the near term,” Northwood added. Northwood noted that it has been reported that the National Oil Company (NOC) has lifted the force majeure declared in December 2014 at Ras Lanuf Oil Terminal on the Gulf of Sidre. Once operational the facility could increase Libya’s oil exports by up to 300,000 bpd.

08 Jun 2015

EU Naval Force Mediterranean Mission Should Be Multi-Agency

File photo

The EU Naval Force mission in the Mediterranean will need to be multi-agency in outlook if it is to succeed. Strong liaison across different agencies, including the commercial shipping sector will need to be a central element in the EU’s plans to act against human traffickers in the Mediterranean says leading maritime security company MAST. Whilst talks are currently taking place in Brussels focused on the EU plans to set up a European Naval Force to fight people smuggling operations in Libya…

06 Mar 2015

Piracy Still a Big Threat in the Indian Ocean

Photo: Alex Sergienko

Underestimating the security risk in the Indian Ocean could put ships in danger once again, says maritime security company MAST Ltd. “Whilst recent reports and incidents seem to be pointing to the Far East as the next piracy hotspot, the real security risk to shipping remains within the Indian Ocean, which is being ‘under-hyped’ by some commentators,” said Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST. "It is clear that the level of maritime crime in the Far East is high, however in most cases…

09 May 2013

GoAGT Training Center Achieves DNV Accreditation

Maritime security company GoAGT Ltd. achieved Det Norske Veritas (DNV) accreditation for its Maritime Training Center located in Galle, Sri-Lanka. The center, one of the first to be accredited globally, can train up to 20 personnel at any one time in a variety of maritime security disciplines including Use of Force and Medical Training. GoAGT has been delivering in-house training at the centre to its deployed teams since 2010, maintaining its role as an innovative market leader. The GoAGT Training Center will be running its pilot MSO course later this month. The new level 3 City and Guilds qualification is set to become a core requirement for compliance with the new industry standard for armed maritime security provision, ISO/PAS 28007.

03 Sep 2013

Maritime Security Firm Urges Suez Canal Precautions

Heightened security should be implemented now on all merchant ships transiting the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean, UK Maritime security company GoAGT advises shipmasters. The warning comes after reports that the "Cosco Asia", a Panamanian registered ship, was attacked on Saturday while transiting the Canal. Egyptian officials say they foiled the attack, which was aimed at disrupting shipping in the Canal. He added: “An unarmed security adviser should be considered for all vessels transiting the Mediterranean prior to embarking armed guards in high risk areas. They can assist crews in identifying potential threats and are able to assist the Masters and their crews communicating and gathering intelligence.

05 Dec 2013

Armed Guards Allowed aboard French, Japanese Ships

Gerry Northwood (left) and Nick Davis

In response to the ongoing threat of piracy in shipping, France and Japan are allowing armed guards on their ships, said U.K. maritime security company GoAGT. Gerry Northwood OBE, Chief Operating Officer for the company, said, “Countries that have not adopted these procedures yet should do so if the world’s shipping routes are to remain safe. The introduction of a change in law regarding armed guards on Japanese registered oil tankers must be seen as a reminder that piracy in…

27 Oct 2014

Maritime Terrorist Attacks ‘Increasingly Likely’

Shipping in general and oil tankers in particular should increase levels of security to counter the threat of an increasingly likely terrorist attack, maritime security company MAST has warned. The company issued the warning after Al-Qaeda insinuated it could execute strategic attacks on chokepoints of oil shipments in its first issue of “Resurgence,” an English-language digital propaganda magazine posted to the terrorist group’s online forum Shamikh1.info. Whilst ISIS activity has been more recently featured in the western media, the resurgence of Al-Qaeda and affiliate organizations is occurring alongside some of the worlds’ most strategically vulnerable and crowded waterways.

03 Dec 2014

Maritime Guns For Hire Adapt to Changes in Sea Piracy

Somali pirate attacks down by 95 pct since 2011 -Maritime bureau. Cash-strapped maritime security firms are being forced to use fewer costly elite guards and to diversify into other businesses such as cyber security, as a steep decline in Somali pirate attacks and hotter competition erode fast-thinning margins. Hundreds of security firms sprang up over the past seven years to offer protection to shipping companies, with scores of merchant vessels being boarded and sailors taken hostage in pirate raids off the coast of conflict-torn Somalia. However, attacks in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean have dropped from a peak of 237 in 2011 to just 10 in the first nine months of this year, the lowest since the piracy scourge began in 2008, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

26 Jan 2015

Training Coastguards is Key to Tackling Piracy

Photo: EU Naval Force

Training and mentoring of coastguards in Africa, Middle East and South East Asia is essential if coastal nations are to have effective control over their Territorial Waters and Economic Zones, says maritime security company Maritime Asset Security & Training Ltd (MAST). Furthermore, if Western Governments continue to cut back on defense spending, these nations will be increasingly reliant on their own resources to provide security in international waters adjacent to their territorial limits. Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST, said, “While the U.K.

28 Apr 2014

ISO/PAS 28007 a Factor for Maritime Security Companies

Nick Davis, CEO of GoAGT, receiving ISO/PAS 28007 certificate from David Derrick, LRQA’s UK Business Centre Manager.

Almost 50% of the shipping companies who took part in a maritime security survey carried out by GoAGT would only employ ISO/PAS 28007 certified companies. The leading maritime security company, which achieved this certification earlier in March and received the certificate at a ceremony recently, surveyed its clients about the value of professional standards such as the forthcoming ISO/PAS 28007 in the decision to use a private maritime security company (PMSC). Results indicated…

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