Saturday, August 1, 2009

Risk Assessment for Maritime Security

Any security safeguard should be based on a properly conducted risk assessment involving trained security personnel with experience in the domain. Each situation should be weighed on its own with the safeguards ensuring appropriate protection for life, property and operations. Ships are produced in many different configurations and though the transit area may be the same, there are different types of transits. When looking at the different vessels, some have a very high free board, such as the auto carrier type, and some have no free board such as some dredger type vessels. This drastic difference in configuration requires a maximum flexibility in the capabilities of the security provider to construct the proper defensive posture for each type of vessel. In addition to different vessel types are the different kinds of transits. Many vessels travel at a speed between 12 and 18 knots. Some of these vessels have good maneuverability and some very limited. However, one special type of transit that is probably the highest risk type, is the tug and barge towing transit. This transit is especially at risk not only due to a speed capability of about 5 knots, but the fact that the distance between the tug and barge can be from 500 to 700 meters. this configuration gives the total transit length of about 850 meters. Ocean tugs typically have an extreme low freeboard, as well as the barge. The risk assessment is very important as it guides the defensive posture of the transit, but more importantly, the risk assessment gives the vessel owner and operator the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions. There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to vessel protection against piracy.

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