In the current economic climate charters and charter rates have fallen dramatically and insurance cover has risen with some companies as a result now opting for the longer Cape route to avoid the Gulf of Aden. This has had a severe effect on margins and therefore the pressing requirement for effective security recognized and approved by underwriters and brokers.
Many land-based security companies, who have no knowledge of the maritime environment, have seen an opportunity and rushed into this market with little idea of the specialist skills, training and maritime experience required.
These concerns are compounded by the fact that many security companies’ lack knowledge of international maritime regulations and codes, the laws of flag states, and of insurance policy restrictions governing the use of weapons at sea; firearms are illegal in most situations and also normally breach insurance requirements.
There is a clear lack of properly skilled and appropriately equipped personnel to assist masters and crews resist piracy. Effective vessel protection teams need to be integrated with ships' crews and have real experience of maritime operations and the ability to offer practical advice to ship's masters. The lack of real expertise is a cause of major concern to the shipping companies, their agents and insurers.
In sum there are no standards of expertise, knowledge, or equipment that the client can refer to when contracting to ordinary security companies.
Of paramount importance is the requirement for teams of operatives to be able to travel quickly to a point of embarkation and have with them the minimum amount of effective kit required to enable them to deploy successfully.
All too often vital kit is removed by overzealous customs or other officials or, in some cases would be illegal on board anyway. In addition much of the equipment that has been brought by concerned shipping companies is not fit for purpose nor correctly installed, serviced or manned.
A total of 2,463 actual or attempted acts of piracy were registered
around the world between 2000 and the end of 2006. This represents
an annual average incident rate of 352, a substantial increase over the
mean of 209 recorded for the period of 1994–1999.
The concentration of pirate attacks continues to be greatest in
Southeast Asia, especially in the waters around the Indonesian archipelago
(including stretches of the Malacca Straits that fall under the
territorial jurisdiction of the Jakarta government), which accounted for
roughly 25 percent of all global incidents during 2006.
The RAND Corporation, The Maritime
International Security, 2008