Saturday, December 31, 2011

Somalia - Piracy - IAMSP and a new Group

Found this today and is very interesting. I am hoping to find out some more, as posted on their site at http://msbgroupltd.com/about/ 


MSB Group Ltd announces that it has completed its pilot and research phase of a project that will afford shipping companies with a clear and authoritative means of selecting private armed maritime security companies that have committed to the highest of legal and ethical practices.
Under the third-party oversight of IAMSP, MSB has formed the framework of a public-private partnership that will address three major needs. First, shipping companies will be able to verify that the security company that they are considering have met certain vetting criteria. This vetting criteria is based on a range of authoritative requirements, including those of the Coastal States, reducing the risk of disruptions while adherence to unique requirements are met.
Finally, it affords the private security company with a clear and concise point with which to communicate and coordinate its activities and logistics. Working within this framework will demonstrate to all those involved and external to the process, that each of the major parties in this activity are working together to counter the proliferation of grey and black market arms, reduce the potential for disruptions in supply chains and operate in a way that is respectful of the needs of the overall maritime shipping community.
Check back soon for the regional launching of this program for the logistical support for firearms used in merchant vessel security.

A bit more information here: http://t.co/baDFwkZq  from the IAMSP Web Site

We will post more as it comes available

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Somalia - Piracy - New Year - Growth

Today is Christmas and we are wishing all a happy holiday time. 2011 has been a wonderful year for ISSG as we now have 8 active offices on 4 continents. Hopefully by the new year we will have our 9th office on our 5th continent. This has been the year of growth and we are not slowing down.

ISSG Group of Companies is blessed to have the best full time staff of personnel in the industry today from countries such as: USA, Lebanon, France, India, United Kingdom, Comoros, Philippines, Nepal, South Africa and Belgium.

ISSG is a truly multi cultural diverse company and all our men are employed due to expertise and experience, regardless of nationality. We take pride in our employees and our management structure to provide the best solutions for maritime security, Close protection, facility security and supply chain solutions.

We wish all a Merry Christmas, and hope that your new year is as prosperous as ours looks to be.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Somalia Piracy - Fox Business News

ISSG Holdings, Ltd. has been selected to appear
on
21st Century Business Television series


Boca Raton, FL (TBD) --- Multi-Media Productions (USA), Inc. is pleased to announce that ISSG Holdings, Ltd. will be featured on 21st Century Business.
ISSG Holdings, Ltd., is an international business company engaged in
merchant vessel protection. We have a solution based mindset providing a
ISSG Holdings, Ltd., are supply chain security specialists with a strong maritime security capacity demonstrated through 4 years of protecting vessels passing through high risk waters. With attacks on vessels in areas such as the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean reaching their highest levels in the last five years and with economies continuing to teeter back and forth between slow growth and recession, it has become more important for shipping companies to be able to assure that they get the cargo to its intended destination, on time, in acceptable condition and at reasonable cost.
.
According to Michael Murrell, CEO of ISSG Holdings, the maritime security industry is at a crossroads. It is not enough for security companies to protect the vessel. They must ensure that they have a broad understanding of the risks involved, take steps to address those risks, and continuously monitor their activities to ensure that their actions do not lead to new risks to the vessel. At the same time, security companies must understand the overall movement of goods—contributing to the effective, and efficient, trade between economies.

ISSG Holdings has built a highly capable network and maintains a leadership role within the maritime security community. ISSG Holdings will, based on an expert assessment of risk and in accordance with the appropriate laws, provide armed security services. These services are delivered using some of the highest trained and most capable maritime security operators—the Marine Commandos (MarCos), a unit that has proven itself in those very waters for years. Through its affiliates, such as ISSG India and ISSG Comoros, the company has been able to attract and maintain a capable team ready to serve the shipping industry

ISSG Holdings has also taken a leadership role in the maritime security industry’s push towards professionalization—a significant effort intended to build a true community of professionals that will ensure that the shipping company’s brand and legal status is also well protected. A significant contributor and vetted corporate member of the International Association of Maritime Security Professionals, it was also one of the first maritime security companies to sign onto the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers. These efforts also include some of its key members participating in senior leadership positions in professional security, first responder, and academic communities.

The combination of these efforts has made ISSG a uniquely capable and credible maritime security service provider today.

of firearms in various
For more information visit www.issg-seamarshals.com


J.L Haber VP of Programming at Multi Media Productions, added,In our search for companies with maritime security solutions, ISSG Holdings, Ltd. stood out as a unique company. We are excited to have them as a guest on our program.”

About 21st Century Business

21st Century Business airs on CNBC (as paid programming) and the Fox Business Network (as paid programming). 21st Century Business may also be viewed through video on demand via www.21cbtv.com. The 21CBTV Series is also available at more than 90 prestigious college universities, including Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, Dartmouth College and Georgetown University.

For specific market-by-market air dates and times, please e-mail Moniqueh@mmpusa.com. For more information, please visit www.21cbtv.com.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Supply Chain Security


ISSG Holdings, Ltd. has been selected to appear
on
21st Century Business Television series


Boca Raton, FL (TBD) --- Multi-Media Productions (USA), Inc. is pleased to announce that ISSG Holdings, Ltd. will be featured on 21st Century Business.
ISSG Holdings, Ltd., is an international business company engaged in
merchant vessel protection. We have a solution based mindset providing a
ISSG Holdings, Ltd., are supply chain security specialists with a strong maritime security capacity demonstrated through 4 years of protecting vessels passing through high risk waters. With attacks on vessels in areas such as the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean reaching their highest levels in the last five years and with economies continuing to teeter back and forth between slow growth and recession, it has become more important for shipping companies to be able to assure that they get the cargo to its intended destination, on time, in acceptable condition and at reasonable cost.
.
According to Michael Murrell, CEO of ISSG Holdings, the maritime security industry is at a crossroads. It is not enough for security companies to protect the vessel. They must ensure that they have a broad understanding of the risks involved, take steps to address those risks, and continuously monitor their activities to ensure that their actions do not lead to new risks to the vessel. At the same time, security companies must understand the overall movement of goods—contributing to the effective, and efficient, trade between economies.

ISSG Holdings has built a highly capable network and maintains a leadership role within the maritime security community. ISSG Holdings will, based on an expert assessment of risk and in accordance with the appropriate laws, provide armed security services. These services are delivered using some of the highest trained and most capable maritime security operators—the Marine Commandos (MarCos), a unit that has proven itself in those very waters for years. Through its affiliates, such as ISSG India and ISSG Comoros, the company has been able to attract and maintain a capable team ready to serve the shipping industry

ISSG Holdings has also taken a leadership role in the maritime security industry’s push towards professionalization—a significant effort intended to build a true community of professionals that will ensure that the shipping company’s brand and legal status is also well protected. A significant contributor and vetted corporate member of the International Association of Maritime Security Professionals, it was also one of the first maritime security companies to sign onto the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers. These efforts also include some of its key members participating in senior leadership positions in professional security, first responder, and academic communities.

The combination of these efforts has made ISSG a uniquely capable and credible maritime security service provider today.

of firearms in various
For more information visit www.issg-seamarshals.com


J.L Haber VP of Programming at Multi Media Productions, added,In our search for companies with maritime security solutions, ISSG Holdings, Ltd. stood out as a unique company. We are excited to have them as a guest on our program.”

About 21st Century Business

21st Century Business airs on CNBC (as paid programming) and the Fox Business Network (as paid programming). 21st Century Business may also be viewed through video on demand via www.21cbtv.com. The 21CBTV Series is also available at more than 90 prestigious college universities, including Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, Dartmouth College and Georgetown University.

For specific market-by-market air dates and times, please e-mail Moniqueh@mmpusa.com. For more information, please visit www.21cbtv.com.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Marine Insurers Backing Armed Guards as Piracy Threat Grows

As Reported HERE

Marine Insurers Backing Armed Guards as Piracy Threat Grows

 

More ship insurers are backing the use of private armed guards on merchant vessels at sea to combat Somali piracy as attacks and the resulting costs are set to rise in coming weeks, industry officials said on Tuesday.
Pirate attacks on oil tankers and other ships are costing the world economy billions of dollars a year and navies have struggled to combat the menace, especially in the vast Indian Ocean. Seaborne gangs are set to ramp up attacks in the area after the monsoon season ends.

www.issg-seamarshals.com

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mozambique holds 'pirate hunters'

As Reported HERE

Mozambique holds 'pirate hunters'

 

Four Americans and one Briton, who say they were trying to free a boat seized by pirates, have been arrested in Mozambique and accused of possessing illegal weapons.
They were detained at the airport in the country's third city, Nampula, police say.
The men reportedly say they work for the US security firm GreySide. The US embassy says the group has no connection to the US government.
GreySide has not commented.
Nampula provincial police spokesperson Inacio Dina told the BBC that the weapons include an FN 5.5mm rifle, as well as ammunition and communications equipment.
The police have named the leader of the group as 42-year-old US citizen Michael Ferguson. He has not commented to the press.
The group had reportedly flown from the United States via Ethiopia and Kenya, where they picked up the weapons.
Mr Ferguson reportedly said their plan was to catch small boats in the northern Mozambican coastal city of Pemba before joining a larger vessel and trying to free the boat from pirates - it is not clear which ship they were allegedly trying to rescue.
They expected further weapons to reach them in Pemba, which they had not been able to load on the plane, police say.
Somalia-based pirates have attacked ships across the Indian Ocean, earning millions of dollars from ransom payments.
Four Britons, who say they were trying to provide protection from pirates, were released by Eritrea in June after six months in captivity.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Philippines National Coast Watch System Established

As Reported HERE
National Coast Watch System established


PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has created a National Coast Watch System to counter the threats to the country’s maritime security.
“The Philippines faces maritime security challenges threatening not only its territorial integrity but the peaceful existence of the Filipinos,” Mr. Aquino said in Executive Order 57.
“Enhancing maritime security in the seas that link our country with other neighboring states promotes our national interest.”
Mr. Aquino said the coast watch system will have an initial funding of P20 million.
The new order expands the scope of Coast Watch South, which was tasked mainly to provide maritime security in Mindanao, to cover the entire archipelago. It also abolished the Commission on Maritime and Ocean Affairs.
The Coast Watch System will have a council led by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. as chairman. Its members will include the secretaries of Transportation, National Defense, Foreign Affairs, Interior and Local Government, Justice, Energy, Finance, Environment and Agriculture.
Mr. Aquino said the council will meet at least twice a year, and also each time that the chairman decides a meeting is necessary.
A National Coast Watch Center will coordinate the conduct of maritime surveillance or response operations. The center may also coordinate cross-border and multinational maritime security cooperation and help in prosecuting offenders.
The center may tap the Navy, the Coast Guard, the National Police-Maritime Group, and the National Prosecution Service of the Justice Department, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime for manpower, equipment and material support.
The council and center may accept donations, contributions or grants from domestic or foreign sources subject to government accounting and auditing rules. Joyce Pangco PaƱares

www.issg-seamarshals.com 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seoul seeks protection for Korean sailors on foreign ships

As Reported HERE
The Seoul government is striving to strengthen measures to ensure the safety of South Korean sailors aboard foreign ships as Somali piracy targeting its citizens continues, a government official said Sunday.

Following a recent series of piracy cases involving its nationals, it has toughened security rules on South-Korean registered vessels using maritime routes where piracy is rampant.

But it was not able to directly demand that foreign ships improve protection measures. Instead, it has urged a network of Korean sailors to seek ways to demand their firms provide better protection.

The government has stepped up such efforts in recent months since a Singaporean-registered ship carrying 25 crew members including four Koreans was seized by Somali pirates some 200 miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya on April 30.

Some 4,000 Korean sailors are working for foreign firms.

“For South Korean vessels, we can track them down with a radar system and have made it mandatory for them to have a citadel (a bullet-proof security zone in a ship),” said the official, declining to be named.

“But foreign vessels carrying South Koreans are relatively vulnerable to piracy. We, thus, are trying to strengthen their security based on the (Korean) sailors’ cooperation.”

As part of efforts to protect them, the government has encouraged Korean sailors to report to the Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Ministry the names of their vessels, the list of Korean sailors on the foreign ships and their traveling routes, when they cruise through risky routes.

Such information would allow the government to act more promptly when another piracy case occurs to them, officials said. The government has also urged Korean sailors to ask their firms to install a citadel and civilian security staff.

Since Korean chemical freighter Samho Jewelry and its 21 crew were rescued by the Navy in January ― days after it was seized in the Arabian Sea, Korean firms have strengthened their protection measures.

Some observers said that due to such measures, Somali pirates seem to have changed their targets from Korean ships to foreign vessels carrying South Korean sailors.

Another reason Seoul wants to see better security measures for foreign ships is that it cannot actively engage in negotiations with pirates when a piracy case occurs to foreign vessels carrying its citizens.

Piracy is rife off the coast of lawless Somalia where armed pirates take to the seas in search of multimillion-dollar ransoms.

Somalia has been in a state of civil war for two decades and has not had a functioning central administration since Mohammed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991. The African country has a coastline facing one of the busiest shipping routes in the world.

www.issg-seamarshals.com

Oman Navy Foils Pirate Attack

AS Reported HERE
Oman navy foils pirates’ attempt to hijack vessel


4 September 2011
MUSCAT — Oman’s navy has thwarted an attempt by Somali brigands to hijack a Liberian-flagged vessel off the Salalah coast. Ten pirates were arrested.
The incident happened on Thursday night some 34 nautical miles south west of the Salalah Port and outside Omani territorial waters, a spokesman for the Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) said.
A RNO vessel rushed to the site after being informed about the hijack attempt on merchant ship ‘Nedlloyd Africa’ and, helped by aircraft from the Royal Air Force of Oman (Rafo), rescued the ship.  During the operation, a dhow hijacked earlier by pirates was also freed. No one was hurt, the RNO spokesman said, adding that all the 10 pirates, who threw their weapons in the sea, were arrested.  The 11 crew members of the dhow, all Asians, were released. 
The arrested pirates were handed over to the Royal Oman Police (ROP) for procedures before their trial.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ships with Indian crew can have armed guards

As Reported HERE

The ministry of shipping on Monday issued guidelines allowing ships with Indian crew to deploy armed guards in a bid to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The move comes on the back of recommendations from the inter-ministerial group (IMG) of officers constituted to handle the hostage situation on hijacked ships and also suggest preventive measures.
It has been found that about 35 per cent of the ship transiting in these waters deploy armed security guards and that the pirates generally don’t attack ships with armed guards on board, an official release said on Monday. So far, 120 Somalian pirates have been apprehended by India as on date.
As per the new guidelines, ship owners are allowed to engage private maritime security companies (PMSC) through a proper selection procedure. In line with these, all Indian ships visiting Indian ports are to furnish details of security personnel on board, the firearms carried by them and the details of licence issued, etc, to the port authority, customs, Coast Guard and the Navy. Foreign merchant vessels visiting Indian ports with security guards are also required to follow similar procedure, as per the guidelines. 

www.issg-seamarshals.com 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anti-Piracy Leadership

As Reported In Global Insight

The first priority for the international community seeking to address the proliferating scourge of piracy is to bring together a community of capable and well-intentioned entities and organizations. The stark truth is that critical information is not shared and anti-piracy efforts are not harmonized to best effect.

ISSG Holdings has been providing leading-edge ship protection services in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of
Aden for over four years. Registered in the Seychelles, the Company provides a model for leveraging expertise and
technology for excellent client service. It has also been a leader in the efforts to professionalize maritime security
services. The management of ISSG are delighted to have the opportunity to share their insights into modern antipiracy
efforts with the readers of Global.

The fi rst priority for the international community seeking to address the proliferating scourge of piracy is to bring
together a community of capable and well-intentioned entities and organizations. Today, these communities are
fragmented and operate within silos. This is not to say that organizations are not attempting to discharge their
individual duties as they are best able. Many are doing more than that and under diffi cult conditions—whether it
be the various naval forces, customs organizations, shipping companies, agents, or Private Maritime Armed Security
Contractors (PMASCs). The stark truth is that critical information is not shared and anti-piracy efforts are not
harmonized to best effect.

A key element of this is in the passage of the information that is required for risk assessment. The system is broken.
For those assessing risk, few reporting centers are in agreement. Often events are reported differently (at
different locations even), late or sometimes not at all. On many occasions reported attacks are never broadcast back
to the anti-piracy community. In some cases, this failure to report is due to government reluctance to support
armed security personnel and companies. Given that many of these reports come from those same entities, the argument is
ludicrous. Reluctant governments need to assess their priorities as domestic policy considerations are
far outweighed by the need for the community to work together. The second priority must involve
the communication of operational requirements. The issue here is not that states have
controls—that is expected. Nor is it that the PMASC believes the state should bend to its will. The challenge arises
when the requirements communicated to the PMASC change, essentially forcing the PMASC into a state of noncompliance.
Two clear acts would alleviate this situation. First, provide a single location where the PMASC can go to
fi nd all the regional requirements. The second is to allow for the Customs Offi cer to have some discretion when it is
known that the ship was between ports of call when the transitions took place. These two factors eliminate needless
risk and waste.

The final priority for the community is to embrace and implement professionalization. Not industry selfregulation
(regulation belonging to the state), but proper professionalization and internal capacity building. If we
can work towards adopting professional standards and practices across the community, we will be in a much
better position to implement worthy protocols such as the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service
Providers and in time many of the problems hampering anti-piracy efforts today can be resolved. It is important to
note that professionalization is not simply a question of establishing ineffective industry guilds and
lobby groups. Of the organizations that are genuinely attempting to build industry capacity and
promote excellence, the International Association of Maritime Security Professionals has made particularly
noteworthy progress.

These are only three of many challenges facing the anti-piracy community – but by seriously
addressing these priorities the community will have made huge strides towards a return to law and order on the
high seas. ISSG Holdings is determined to play its part in achieving that objective, and we remain committed to
assisting those ships that require protective services. We also hope that our efforts, and the efforts of the anti-piracy
community, will also deliver a brighter future for the law abiding people of Somalia.

Allan McDougall (BA BMASc PCIP CMAS CISSP CPP)

www.issg-seamarshals.com

Sunday, August 7, 2011

India to Issue Armed Guard Notification

As Reported HERE
Govt to issue notification on armed anti-pirate guards


Mumbai: Indian merchant ships may soon be allowed to have armed guards to counter pirate attacks, two senior government officials said.
The Directorate General of Shipping plans to issue a draft notification allowing merchant ships to deploy armed guards on board, said Satish B. Agnihotri, who heads the regulatory agency.
Agnihotri did not give any details. H. Khatri, nautical surveyor-cum-deputy director general of shipping, who is preparing the draft, could not be immediately contacted.
Also See | Rising Risk (PDF)
Mint reported on 5 June that the government was considering allowing merchant ships to have armed guards to deal with the growing menace of piracy.
The International Maritime Organisation, a global overseer of operational and safety rules, in May approved employing privately contracted armed security personnel onboard ships transiting through the high-risk piracy area off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden and the wider Indian Ocean.
There were 266 pirate attacks worldwide in the first six months of this year, compared with 196 in the same period last year, according to a July report of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a non-profit organization that deals with maritime crime and malpractice.
At least 60% of the attacks were by Somali pirates, mostly in the Arabian Sea. On 30 June, these pirates were holding 20 vessels and 420 crew members as hostage, demanding millions of dollars as ransom.
“In the last six months, Somali pirates attacked more vessels than ever before and they’re taking higher risks,” said Pottengal Mukundan, director of IMB. “This June, for the first time, pirates fired on ships in rough seas in the Indian Ocean during the monsoon. In the past, they would have stayed away in such difficult (weather) conditions.”
Nine Indian ships have been captured since January and 86 crew members are currently held hostage, shipping minister G.K. Vasan said. Talks for their release are on.
The government will allow shipping companies to hire private guards and former defence personnel for securing ships, said a person aware of the draft legislation being prepared.
The number of guards allowed on a ship will depend on its size, ranging from two for a small ship to four for a large crude carrier, said this person, who asked not to be identified.
India’s shipping industry has been lobbying for some time to be allowed to have armed guards on board. Hiring these guards will raise expenses, but the industry expects the insurance premium to come down in turn.
National security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon met executives of shipping companies last month to discuss ways to deal with piracy.
A senior executive with a shipping company said no progress has been made after the meeting, but welcomed the Directorate General of Shipping’s plan to issue guidelines on hiring armed guards.
The nation, he said, is paying Rs6 crore as additional war risk surcharge imposed by reinsurers.
The minimum additional premium on account of such attacks for a very large crude carrier valued at $64 million and carrying a cargo of 260,000 million tonnes (mt), is around $200,000 per month. A bulk carrier, valued at $50 million and carrying 50 mt, pays an additional premium of $50,000 a month.
“It is high time India pushed the United Nations for common and integrated efforts by deploying a force in the pirates infested area,” the shipping executive said.
India took over as president of the United Nations Security Council this month.
But armed guards alone may not be enough to end piracy, said a security expert, asking not to be named.
“The Somalian pirates don’t go by the size of the ships or cargo. They target crew for ransom. Now they may shift (attacks) from big vessels with guards to small vessels and yachts,” the expert said. International bodies, he said, should look for a sustainable resolution.

www.issg-seamarshals.com

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lawmaker: Pinoy seamen deserve equal protection of law

As Reported by Pinoyabroad
The Democratic Independent Workers' Association (DIWA) party-list representative is asking the House committee on overseas workers affairs to look into the recent sea piracy incidents involving Filipino seafarers.
In House Resolution 1474, filed last week by DIWA party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay, the "inquiry in aid of legislation" would pave the way to ensure that all Filipino seamen are "accorded the equal protection of the law."
"The inadequacy of our piracy laws necessitates additional legislative measures to make them more all-encompassing, so as not to prejudice other Filipino seafarers who are likewise prone to pirate attacks," she said.
In particular, Aglipay noted that the government should provide "double compensation and benefits" to any victims of sea piracy. Under the present rules, only victims of hijacking in "high risk" zones are given double compensation, while those who become victims in other areas are left with no recourse.
"The Philippine government must take an aggressive role in addressing the plight of our Filipino seafarers who will continue… becoming victims of these illegal activities," Aglipay said, noting that the seamen have greatly boosted the Philippine economy through their remittances.
There are over 300,000 Filipino seafarers, comprising around 30 percent of an estimated 1.2 million seafarers worldwide, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. They have remitted a total of $3.8 billion in 2010, it added.
Death of some seafarers
The death of Christopher Ceprado — one of 17 Filipino crew members of chemical tanker M/T Sea King that was attacked by heavily armed pirates last May — prodded Aglipay to file the House resolution. [See related: Kin of Pinoy seafarer killed off Nigeria seek PHL govt's help]
In this incident, the pirates looted and ransacked the vessel's equipment and took personal effects of crew members while the ship was in the port of Benin's largest city, Cotonou, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
Aglipay noted that prior to the killing of Ceprado, M/V Beluga Nomination was hijacked by Somali pirates 390 nautical miles north of Port Victoria in the Seychelles on Jan. 22, 2011.
Farolito Vallega, a Filipino crewman of the M/V Beluga, was shot and killed by the Somali pirates as two anti-piracy naval patrol vessels attempted a rescue mission on Jan. 26, 2011. Also, another Filipino crewman is still missing after jumping overboard during the rescue operation.
Aglipay quoted the International Chamber of Commerce as saying there have been 248 attacks and 28 vessels hijacked worldwide so far this year. 
"While the waters off Somalia continues to remain the most piracy-prone area, the risk to crews and shipping off Nigeria and its neighboring states remains high as well especially since incidents are not reported," the lawmaker said.

Aglipay, citing numbers from the International Maritime Bureau, said there are currently over 700 hostages held in over 30 vessels. Based on DFA records, at least 130 Filipino seafarers on board 11 vessels had been held captive by Somali pirates. — With Jesse Edep/VS, GMA News

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Norway's Anti-Piracy Stance

As Reported HERE

Norway’s Anti-Piracy Stance Grabs Industry Attention

 

The dog days of summer are upon us, which may explain why Norway’s release of new anti-piracy regulations crept by without much attention. But the force and practicality of Norway’s effort to lay out practical terms for using armed guards on Norway-flagged vessels is now dawning on shipowners and maritime lawyers.
“The Norwegians have helped ships flagged in Norway take the bull by the horns,” said Chris Greiveson, a Singapore-based partner at Norwegian law firm Wikborg Rein.
Norway had tried to make the guidelines for using weaponry on ships during an attack as simple and straightforward as it could, he added. “[The rules] are essentially exemptions to local firearms law,” Mr Greiveson said.
The rules go so far as to specify the type of weapons that owners are allowed to deploy via security guards on their vessels, including rifles with as high a calibre as AK-47s, and large semi-automatic weapons.
Norway issued the rules on July 1, at a time when more shipowners are turning to armed guards for protection, particularly in crossing the Indian Ocean.
Lloyd’s List has reported that protection and indemnity clubs are being swamped by requests from owners in all flags to review contracts with security companies offering piracy protection.
Guidelines for selection of security companies and for rules of engagement have been issued by the International Maritime Organization and by P&I clubs.
However, owners that opt to deploy armed guards are still entering a grey area in the law that has not been tested with a great degree of legal precedent. For example, they are held to the laws of their flag state on such matters as which weapons are allowed and the use of weapons.
Only Norway, so far, has been specific about the actual weapons the owners may use. The rules require owners to get a general framework permission from a Norwegian police authority and the country’s maritime directorate, and then to document the actual use of a properly trained and vetted armed personnel with the authorities.
“A granted permit will not be linked to each individual firearm,” the regulations state said. “However, companies must apply for an exemption in order to be permitted to hold prohibited firearms.” Moreover, exemptions are granted for fully automatic firearms with bullets that do not exceed 7.62 mm in calibre or that use rounds with a size of 9 x 19 mm.
The exemptions also allow for single-shot, repeating semi-automatic firearms with bullets with diameters that do not exceed 12.7mm — in other words, “quite a big beast of a weapon”, according to Mr Greiveson.
The regulations include guidelines for storage of weapons and many other practical issues. The detailed level of advice came in the wake of criticism of the Norwegian government by Norwegian shipowners, who were calling for a more useful code to work with. “Norway has done a great service to its shipowners,” said Mr Greiveson.
BW Group chairman Helmut Sohmen said that the regulations were helpful, and would help stop “incidental attacks”.
However, he raised the caveat that deploying armed guards was no solution to the problem. The escalation of violence could put seafarers into the middle of a melee, or pirates could simply be clever enough to stay away from Norwegian ships and attack those less likely to be so well armed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Indian Navy Foils Pirate Attack

As Reported HERE

INS Godavari foils piracy attempt

 

An Indian Navy warship foiled a pirate attack on a Greek merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden when it launched a helicopter and marine commandoes forcing eight Somali pirates to abandon the plan.
Indian Naval Ship Godavari, on anti-piracy patrol escort operation since May 25 in the region responded to a distress call from MV Elinakos in the early hours of July 16 while escorting four other ships in the Gulf of Aden.
“The INS Godavari was quick to launch a helicopter to locate the skiff being used by the pirates and subsequently launched marine commandos to board the pirate boat. On being approached by the naval boat, they dumped their arms, ammunition and other piracy triggers’’, Indian Navy spokesman said.
A German naval ship, the Niedersachsen, also coordinated with INS Godavari in the operation, which continued with the escort mission, on completion of the operation.
Since it deployment in May this year, INS Godavari has safely escorted 219 ships of various countries and last week, the warship escorted a Pakistani ship, the MV Islamabad, with an all-Pakistani crew of 38.
The Indian Navy has been deploying ships since 2008 in the Gulf of Aden for escorting merchant vessels and Indian Naval ships have escorted 1,665 ships successfully.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Regulating Private Maritime Security?

As Reported by Inner City Press

On Somalia Piracy, US Questions Regulating Mercenaries, Egypt Says Crime is Crime 

 

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 -- Amid controversy about the use of mercenaries to face off against pirates off the coast of Somalia, the US State Department's Donna Hopkins on July 14 told Inner City Press “there's a robust international effort [about] the use of armed security, private or not, and how it should be regulated, if at all.” Video here, from Minute 13:30.
Earlier in the month, the chairman of the UN's Working Group on mercenaries told Inner City Press that a draft convention to regulate private military contractors is being opposed by large states.
Apparently, even with Blackwater having renamed itself Xe Services and moved to the Middle East, the US is still opposed to regulating mercenaries, including on the high seas.
Hopkins is formally the Coordinator of the Counter Piracy and Maritime Security Bureau of Political Military Affairs at the US State Department, and chairs “Working Group Three” of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. Denmark's Legal Adviser Thomas Winkler declined to say if the use of armed security is good or bad, but added that no ship with armed guards has been hijacked.
Another Contact Group member, Egypt's Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister and Counter Terrorism Coordinator Ashraf Mohsen, adopted an even harder line. Inner City Press asked if the Contact Group has done anything about illegal fishing or the dumping of toxic waste.
Some will try to justify criminal behavior,” Mohsen said, citing poverty as an excuse for stealing, injustice as a rationale for killing. “Crime is crime... Piracy is a form of criminal behavior. Any justification is unacceptable.”
As if to counteract this position, Mary Seet-Cheng of Singapore said that piracy cannot be solved at sea. The UK's Chris Holtby chimed in about efforts on the rule of law in Somalia, the development of its Exclusive Economic Zone. He did not mention outside involvement in what purported to be Somalia's own Law of the Sea filing. And so it goes at the UN.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pirates Seize Livestock Vessel

As Reported by Reuters
BOSASSO, Somalia (Reuters) - Somali pirates have hijacked a vessel carrying livestock off the shores of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, a local official said.
The vessel was sailing from Bosasso in Somalia and to the United Arab Emirates, Hassan Farah Jamac, Puntland's commerce and industry minister told Reuters late on Thursday.
"It was carrying a lot of goats from Bosasso," Jamac said. "We are very sorry about that. Our forces are now preparing to rescue the boat with the help of the foreign navies."
He gave no details of the number of crew nor their nationalities.
Somali pirate gangs, who can stay out at sea for long periods using captured merchant vessels as mother ships, make tens of millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing ships off the lawless country's waters.
Their use of mother ships has allowed them to venture out as far as the waters off India's coast and Mozambique and, unlike in the past, they can keep sailing even in rough waves during the ongoing monsoon season.
Crude oil tankers sailing in the east and northeast of the Gulf of Aden have been particularly targeted.
An International Maritime Bureau report released on Thursday said despite the increase of attacks off Somalia and other areas, successful hijackings were down, in large part due to massive patrolling by naval fleets.
But it said the pirates, who use machineguns, grenade launchers and other weapons, had become more violent.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

BRITISH NAVY FIRED ON OFF SOMALIA

As Reported HERE
BRITISH NAVY IN DANGEROUS ACTION OFF NORTHERN COAST OF SOMALIA

AFRICA 11 July 2011. British Royal Navy warship entangled in domestic affairs skirmish.

A British warship allegedly having the commander of the Somaliland navy and some of his soldiers on board attracted on Saturday serious military fire when it came close to the shore off
Laasqoray, the coastal town of Warsangeliland at the Somali shores of the Gulf of Aden. From the foreign warship reportedly one amphibious vessel and two commando boats were launched with the intent to land on the beach.

Local officials, observers and media reported the incident as an unprecedented provocation and attack on the sovereignty of Somalia and specifically of the Warsangeli territory. 


Reports indicated earlier last week that a British warship had come to Somaliland’s port city of Berbera where President Ahmed Silanyo reportedly met British officials on board the vessel.


The ship is believed to be a patrol ship that is part of the western-led anti-piracy initiatives along the coasts of Somalia.


While neither EU NAVFOR nor the British navy reported the incident, security forces of Somalia’s breakaway region of Puntland confirmed that they had fired towards a British warship near the coast.

The political background is the long-standing fight between the former British colony of Somaliland in the Northwest of Somalia, which today prefers to be an independent, though internationally not recognized breakaway republic and Puntland, the federal regional state of Somalia, located to the north-east.


Between these two blocks, the land of the Warsangeli and further south the Dulbahante homeland form a buffer zone, which regularly sees skirmishes over the control for these areas, which also contain oil- and other mineral concessions, being fought over between the two blocks.


Somaliland and Puntland are engaged in this long-standing border dispute particularly along the borders of the Sool, Sanaag and Ceyn regions located in the central north of Somalia since 1992.


The latest incident now involved a British naval vessel on a mission with an obviously pro-Somaliland agenda which was countered by forces loyal to the Puntland government as well as by those of the local Warsangeli governance.


The provincial commissioner of Sanaag region, Mohamud Dabayl said the war ship sailed towards Laasqoray, a strategic port town in the North of Somalia which is part of a territory disputed by the Puntland and Somaliland authorities.


"The ship appeared to have been misdirected and its captain may have been told that Laasqoray would be part of Somaliland. It was sailing towards Laasqoray” Dabayl told the local media in Bosaso.


He said Puntland authorities fired warning shots after it emerged that the warship entered their territory without prior notification, an issue regional officials said is a violation of territorial sovereignty and international law.


“Our security forces fired warning shots towards the ship because it was sailing through the coast of Puntland. The warning was to tell the crew that they were not in the territorial waters of Somaliland” he added.


According to the local Hiraan media, the regional commissioner said Puntland security personnel had arrested one person from the ship who was waving the flag of the self declared republic of Somaliland at the time when the warning shots were fired.


Local observers reported that though heavier weapons including RPGs and also small arms fire were directed against the British naval contingent and three of the Somaliland soldiers, who had landed from the British ship on the beach, were arrested, nobody got hurt.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yemen Coast Guard Frees Saudi Tanker

As Reported HERE
Yemeni coastguards free Saudi oil tanker from pirates
 
 
ADEN, July 06 (Saba) - Yemeni coastguard forces managed on Wednesday to free a Saudi oil tanker after armed clashes with Somali pirates.

Director General of the Aden Coastguard Sector Abdul-Rahman Musa said that Somali pirates have attempted to seize the Saudi oil supertanker "Brlenti Velots" off the Gulf of Aden.

Musa said that the Somali pirates have been killed in the rescue operation of the tanker that was heading for Britain.

The tanker captain commended the efforts of the Yemeni security forces that have freed the tanker with no human casualties.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ministers Approve On Board Arms

As Reported HERE

Ministers approve onboard arms

The Norwegian government has approved ships to carry weapons in efforts to resist piracy.

 

Trade and Industry Minister Trond Giske and Minister of Justice Knut Storberget presented new rules and regulations, Wednesday, following ongoing discussions since March.
The Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean are witness to increasingly common and violent piracy. Approximately half of the Norwegian-owned 1,000 vessels sail under the Norwegian flag off the Somali coast, and several sailors in the Indian Ocean have been killed.
Up to 300 Norwegian citizens are in the Indian Ocean region at any one time, NTB reports.
“We see that other countries are also introducingsimilar legislation. The pirates have goodintelligence. They know the contents of the cargo, who the creware, and whether there are armed guards aboard. We want our sailorsto feel safe,” said Minister Giske.
Shipping companies can already apply on behalf of contracted security firms from tomorrow, but according to the minister have to prove “that allother measures have been tried first.”
Conducting their own risk assessments of the need for armed guards, as well as presenting security company documentation about training, qualifications, recruitment, proper weapons storage and deployment procedures also for part of the requirements.
Seafarers unions have been split on the issue of carrying arms, with pirate researchers fearing this could lead to revenge.
However, today’s move by the government makes previous practises and statements by different shipping companies history, and was greeted positively by the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association.
“Nobody is served by cowboy conditions at sea. It’s good, therefore, that the rules of armament are now clear,” says Haakon Svane, Director of the Contingency Planning Secretariat.
Underlining the Association only advocates having armed guards aboard when the shipping company feels they are necessary, however, he concludes, “Pirates threaten ships and crewsaggressively, and unfortunately, passive safety measures are not always sufficient. Wemust realise that armed guards make the difference between being hijacked and not.”

www.issg-seamarshals.com

Thursday, June 23, 2011

India to charge Somali pirates and their hostages

Of Compassion—and Common Sense
Recent media reports HERE that India is intended to charge 14 suspected Somali pirates and their three hostages that drifted to within kilometres of India’s coast. While one can certainly see the pirates facing charges, the argument that the Somali’s will only be charged with trespassing is somewhat mind boggling. To charge the three Yemeni, indicated as being “hostages”, for entering into India’s territory without the appropriate travel documents should also raise a few eyebrows.
India has taken a reasonably tough stance on its border controls since the Mumbai attacks. The fact that this vessel was reported to have been found near the same route suspected to have been used for those attacks probably does not help the situation. It may even be necessary to show a strong hand against both the Somalis and Yemeni on board so that there is no appearance of vulnerabilities in the overall system.
The problem here is that there are indications that India’s stance on its border controls may be moving beyond the pale of decency and common sense. There have been reports, corroborated through third sources, that Indian officials were directly involved in failing to allow at least one person from being able to seek medical attention when that individual was left stranded on board a vessel (the company having gone into receivership and leaving a number of its crew and personnel stranded).
Combined with those, and other, past reports, there are adequate indications that India`s policies in this respect have moved outside of what might be called reasonable conduct. While, of course, the state certainly has its right to manage its own sovereign affairs as it sees fit, it may be prudent for some to be reminded that (1) they operate within a community of nations and (2) that strength and compassion are a far more powerful mix than simply exercising strength without judgement.
Let us hope that common sense prevails...that the pirates are held pending more serious charges and that the Yemeni persons held hostage are recognized for being under duress and hardly able to be held criminally responsible for their apparent transgression.

Full Article:
AHMEDABAD, India (AFP) – Indian police said Wednesday they would charge 14 suspected Somali pirates and their three hostages who drifted to within kilometres (miles) of the country's west coast in a fishing boat.
A senior police official said that investigators believed three Yemeni men found on the trawler were hostages of the alleged pirates, who are believed to have hijacked the vessel two weeks ago off the coast of Somalia.
The Yemenis told police the boat had been adrift in the Indian Ocean after running out of fuel and had been carried to the Indian coast by the tide.
All 17 men were detained in the coastal district of Junagarh in Gujarat state, some 300 kilometres (186 miles) southwest from the main regional city of Ahmedabad.
"After interrogation we have ascertained that the Somali nationals are pirates who had kidnapped the three Yemenis," Junagarh police chief Depankar Trivedi told AFP by telephone.
He said police would press charges against the Somalis and their captives for entering India without valid travel documents.
The official said the Somalis were only charged with trespassing because the hijacking occurred beyond India's jurisdiction in international waters.
"We are charging them only for the violation of Indian laws," he said, adding the three Yemenis did not possess travel documents and so were also in breach of India's Passport Act.
Trivedi said a marine police team detained the men on Sunday after local fishermen reported the presence of the Yemen-flagged vessel only a couple of kilometres (miles) off the coast of Gujarat.
India's coastguard and navy are on high alert against pirates seeking to evade the international force patrolling waters off Somalia by attacking shipping much further east in the Indian Ocean.
More than 100 pirates have been caught and are awaiting trial in India following a series of violent skirmishes near the country's Lakshadweep islands since the start of this year.
India, which does not have a specific anti-piracy-law, is planning to frame legislation to deal with the scourge.