Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gulf of Aden Armed Vessel Escorts

Piracy has adapted to the naval presence in the Gulf of Aden, and of course has spread widely throughout the Indian Ocean. Although it is a great help to have Naval forces in the IRTC, and the organization of convoys through the area, it is obvious that this system is problematic. The naval forces themselves have admitted that they can respond to incidents, but that individual ships must take responsibility for their own welfare and protection.

Some private security companies have entered into cooperative arrangements with the Yemen Coast Guard and Navy to offer armed services. There are a few issues with this concept. The "Jawa Report"
outlines the corruption issues in this regard. In addition, a vessel must travel outside the IRTC area to gain this security, which enhances risk instead of maximizing risk mitigation.

There is no 'cookie cutter' approach to piracy and protection of merchant vessels. Each individual vessel is a separate entity when on the water. Each vessel should have its own vessel / transit specific risk assessment conducted before the transit, and only then can sound decision making be conducted in regards to the appropriate level of protection for that vessel. Even with the published "Best Management Practices" by international shipping organizations, due diligence most go further.

It appears that some have become complacent with the naval convoys in the IRTC, even to the point of not following basic anti piracy practices. With latest hijackings, it shows that even with the largest vessel, with the tallest free board, you still must plan and execute proper precautions during high risk transits.

ISSG has adapted to the current tactics and methods of piracy by enhancing our service to offer 'one on one,' armed vessel escorts. We have been able to accomplish this at a cost that is very affordable to the maritime industry through a special multiple transit structure, and can conduct these escorts throughout the gulf of Aden.

By conducting a one on one armed vessel escorts, with on firearms on board the merchant vessel, The liability to the shipping company is significantly reduced, and the vessel Master of the protected ship has no accountability for the actions taken by the escort vessel. We are prepared for any type of attack that the pirates may conduct, covering all sides of the vessel. The goal is to keep the pirates away from the merchant vessel in the first place. We believe in a multi-layered defense strategy, and the merchant vessel should still prepare itself according to Best Management Practices.

For pre contracting transits, according to a shipping companies needs, even the smaller shipping companies can take part in cost effective protection.

Complete protection needs complete planning and proper execution.

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