Sunday, August 23, 2009

Anti-Piracy Vessel Risk assessments

ISSG Holdings, Ltd. and Evolutionary Security Management, Inc. have developed an unparalleled anti-piracy vessel survey program for the maritime industry. This survey is conducted in two parts. First we send a trained security surveyor to your vessel, anywhere in the world to conduct the survey without interrupting the ships schedule. The report of the security survey is then transmitted to Evolutionary Security Management, Inc. in Canada, where an exhaustive assessment is conducted, and report issued back to the company.

Being appropriately prepared for an attack by pirates requires an approach that is based on sound judgment and analysis. The approach put forward in this program is intended to meet that goal while clearly demonstrating the company's alignment with Section 29 of MSC 1333 put forward by the IMO in June 2009 and other elements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. While the IMO's guidance is indicated as being a preferred practice, it can be construed, given the maritime culture, as a best practice for companies seeking to demonstrate that they are exercising their due diligence. This approach is further supported by security doctrine that has undergone a peer review to ensure its soundness and consistency with security doctrine and practices.

The three following cycles play pivotal roles in the defence of the vessel:

1. Protection, detection, response and recovery;

2. Deter, detect, delay, deny and detain or destroy; and

3. Mitigation, preparation, response and recovery.

In the first cycle, the goal is for the vessel to be able to be adequately hardened against reasonably foreseeable threats. Having been hardened, the next goal is for the vessel to be able to detect and respond to threats effectively. Finally, infrastructure should be included that allows for the vessel to recover from a range of known impacts.

In the second cycle, the focus is on the security operations of the vessel. In this case, the hardening of the vessel and other activities ideally deter the attacker. If this is not possible, however, the goal is for the vessel to be able to detect and delay the attacker from boarding the vessel (and progressively more sensitive areas) until help arrives. Finally, the goal is to be able to deny access to personnel , potential hostages, or critical aspects of the ship. Finally, the ship may want to maintain the means of being able to detain or destroy a potential attacker, although this option will rarely be acceptable.

In the third cycle, the goal is to take steps to minimize the potential impacts of an attack as part of the long-term corporate activities. The first cycle plays a significant role in the preparation of the vessel while the second cycle plays a significant role in the response phase. The final recovery phase ensures that the ship, its crew and the assets on board are protected so that normal operations can resume expeditiously.

The Approach:
There are four basic elements required in order to perform a valid survey of a vessel. These four elements are the following:

An understanding of the threat, including its knowledge, skills, abilities and traditional resources; ·

An understanding of the vessel from an engineering perspective; ·

An understanding of the operations of the vessel, particularly its navigation and how it deals with security events;

and · An understanding of the crew and its ability to respond.

Before setting out on the survey, the surveyor must review the threat profile of the potential threat in the area. Particular attention should be paid to the intent, number of craft, number of persons per craft, knowledge, skills, abilities, and resources (particularly weapons and tools) available to the attacker. This can often be provided through the Evolutionary Security website (marineweb). To get access to this web, you will need to contact

The second element deals with how robust the vessel is or, in other terms, how well it is likely to withstand an attack. This is broken down into two sub-elements. The first element deals with the materials, engineering and design used in the construction of the vessel. This is a question of robustness. The second sub-element, however, looks at whether or not the design offers the attacker the means or opportunity to gradually penetrate onto the vessel, into the superstructure, and then to progressively more protected compartments.

While the second element deals with how well the ship can defend itself (a question of preparation), the third element looks at the elements of response and recovery. Having detected a suspicious vessel or potentially hostile situation, can the vessel outrun, outmaneuver, or otherwise navigate in such a way that it enhances the ship's natural design features? This is the first sub-element. The second sub-element involves whether or not the ship has the necessary preparations, plans, procedures and testing completed to validate whether or not the infrastructure on board the vessel is working.

The final element of four involves the training and understanding of the crew. This is not part of the ship survey and fits more closely into an inspection under regulatory regimes, etc. We want, however, to remind the ship owner and operator that technology is only one piece of the challenge, the other is a capable and confident crew. Incident reports have borne out the conclusion that those that have solid plans and look like they know how to execute them have a reduced chance of being attacked over those that appear unprepared.

We believe that the Vessel Survey for Anti-Piracy Risk Assessment is vital in the maritime industry today. This program not only enhances the capability of the ship and crew to be prepared, but is one of the most cost effective ways for shipping companies to exercise due diligence and a sound security practice.

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