Monday, February 1, 2010

Superficial Maritime Security

In any security field, security either needs to be conducted correctly, or not at all. The maritime security field is no different. every type of security operation has its own expertise, whether it be VIP security, compound security, convoy escorts through cities etc. Maritime security also has its own uniqueness. The largest issue we run into is providers that conduct what we call 'superficial' maritime security.

The example I will use is the Gulf of Aden transit escort. First of all, there is no one size fits all to maritime security, as each vessel is unique on the water. Vessels vary in size, speed and maneuverability, therefore each specific transit should have its own vessel / transit specific risk assessment, so that the security for that transit is based on sound security doctrine and all the appropriate considerations taken into account.

One of the most misleading issues to shipping companies, is the establishment of the IRTC. Of course the IRTC is a good plan and is patrolled by naval forces, however, the known piracy area is much longer than the IRTC area covers. Unfortunately, some security providers are using the IRTC as their coverage area when advising shipping companies of cost for transit security, whether it is on board security or escort.

In the example above, most escorts or on board security offered by security companies in the area follow the yellow line, usually within the territorial waters of Yemen and usually not even for the duration of the IRTC. However, due to the knowledge of the piracy area beginning inside the Red Sea and extending to at least to the mid point of Oman (port Duqm), the area covered by security companies should extend at least to these points.

Even with either escort, or on board security, vessels should remain transiting within the IRTC for the most complete mitigation of risk. the last thing a ship needs when transiting is to disembark a security team in Nishtun, Yemen and get attacked off the coast of Salalah, Oman. If this type of coverage is what is offered as a solution for your transit security, I would pose the question whether this is a security company you are talking to, or merely and "agent" for the Yemen Coast Guard or Navy who is just taking advantage of the piracy problem to earn off of everyone else. A real security provider will have their own capabilities, methodology and risk assessment ability, and would properly consult on the transit coverage area.

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