Page 8: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Q1 2012)

Training & Maritime Security

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Until a permanent solution is found to the scourge of piracy off the Horn of Africa, the shipping community has successfully begun to rely on self-protection in the form of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP). To date, no commercial vessel with an embarked armed security team aboard has been captured by pirates. The practice of using armed guards as part of an overall security strategy, in combination with applying the latest Best Management Practices (BMPs), is condoned by the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), although caution is urged both in choosing to embark the PCASP team and in complying with various laws and regulations being imposed by port and littoral coastal states, as well as by the Suez Canal.While PCASP teams have proven effective, the RMI continues to urge adherence to BMPs. The RMI worked with various industry groups to develop the Þ rst BMPs relating to counter-piracy strategies and has continued to be directly involved in the evolution of the process which is now in its fourth revision. The RMI was a charter signatory to the New York Declaration, a document presented through the United Nations Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (UNCGPCS), in which major ß ag States agreed to promote adherence to BMPs by their respective ß eets. The RMI was also a charter signatory to the Washington Declaration, a document designed to focus global attention on the plight of seafarers subjected to pirate attacks and those presently held captive by pirates. Through this agreement, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) was nominated to serve as a clearing house for information relating to the effects of piracy on seafarers. ?The RMI Maritime Administrator is deeply concerned with the safety and security of vessels ß ying the RMI ß ag and especially for the crews of those ships,? said Captain Thomas F. Heinan, Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, RMI. ?We see it as our role to offer guidance to vessel owners and operators on plans relating to embarking PCASP prior to authorizing their use,? he continued. Planning is CriticalThe Þ rst issue in choosing to use an armed team for security isto conduct a risk assessment of the intended voyage. Attention must also be paid to the ports where guards will be embarked and disembarked and intervening port calls (or a Suez Canal transit) where arms or guards will be aboard. The RMI Maritime Administrator has issued numerous Marine Notices, Maritime Safety Advisories and Ship Security Advisories regarding these issues, offering guidance to vessel owners and operators. ?The Suez Canal Authority and an increasing number of littoral States surrounding high risk area (HRA) waters are tightening their regulations relating to embarked PCASP teams and their Þ rearms,? said Capt. Heinan. ?Most now require a Letter of Non-Objection from a vessel?s ß ag State for the embarkation of the teams; the Administrator issues those letters after reviewing the particulars of the voyage,? he continued.Once the decision to retain a Private Maritime Security Company (PMSC) has been made, owners and operators are cautioned to fully vet candidate companies. One standard acceptable to the RMI Maritime Administrator is that the PMSC be a member of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI). Ensuring that the PMSC and the PCASP team are fully quali Þ ed, properly trained and equipped, and operate under a responsible ?use of force? plan are seen as critical to a successfully protected voyage through the HRA.One issue in evaluating a proper PCASP is the size of the team and the complement of arms and ammunition to be embarked. A troubling trend by pirates is the recurring strategy of employing multiple skiffs and/or repeated attack runs, seemingly designed to cause the PCASP to exhaust their ammunition as a prelude to a successful attack. Although no commercial ship with an embarked armed PCASP has been captured by pirates, intelligence analysts conclude pirates have an interest in overwhelming a PCASP protected ship in order to cast doubt on the viability of the practice.In order to evaluate the performance of the growing number of PMSCs, the Administrator requests owners and operators or vessel masters to complete assessment forms on the PCASP (PEDUNHG*XDUGV 6XFFHVVIXODV&RXQWHU3LUDF\6WUDWHJ\%\:LOOLDP+:DWVRQ Insights8 I Maritime Professional I1Q 2012

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Maritime Logistics Professional magazine is published six times annually.