At the BIMCO Breakfast Brief this morning, Shipping Industry Security Managers heard familiar themes from EUNAVFOR, BIMCO and CSOs Alliance; maritime crime and piracy have not disappeared, indeed without continued efforts from both the private and public sector, could well return.
The Head of EUNAVFOR, Major General Martin Smith MBE said, “because of the naval patrols and merchant vessels’ self-protection measures, including the use of private armed security teams (PAST), in the Indian Ocean, counter-piracy forces assess that the threat from long-range pirate attacks in the near future is reduced.” However, he continued to say, “Collectively we have been able to curtail their use of mother ships to attack far from the coast, but I remain convinced that if pirates perceive that we are lowering our guard, they will seize the opportunity and plan an attack on a vulnerable ship. And if they take one ship, this could re-energise their business model which, you know all too well, could cost the international community and shipping industry dearly.”
Andrew Varney, Managing Director of Port2Port said, “Private sector actors are increasingly responsible partners in the collaborative approach needed to ensure maritime security. Private security companies complement state government efforts, something I am committed to providing for the Shipping and Offshore Industries.” The Port2Port Group has now successfully delivered well in excess of 1000 armed transits in the Eastern HRA and is also one of the very few companies able to provide effective and legally compliant services in the Gulf of Guinea as well maritime training courses in the UK, Nigeria and worldwide on request.
EUNAVFOR re-emphasized the importance of a comprehensive three-pillared approach supported by EU Members States, commercial and military stakeholders. There is a collective responsibility, he said, for stakeholders to collaborate in ensuring a sustainable future for the sea commons. Giles Noakes, Head of Security at BIMCO, also discussed the vital role to be played by commercial actors adding, “they must ensure the survivability of shipping against threats.”
The session was held in collaboration with Port2Port and the CSO Alliance during London International Shipping Week 2015 and was followed by a well-attended crisis management exercise conducted by Trident & Port2Port looking at the migrants at sea issue and impact on commercial shipping.