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
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)