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Sea under Siege: Getting to the bottom of Maritime piracy and How to tackle it

On the 24th of September, a group of pirates attacked a Swiss cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria, kidnapping 12 crew members in a region that has seen dozens of similar attacks so far this year.

During the first quarter of 2018, the Gulf of Guinea alone accounted for around 40 % of the world’s overall maritime piracy incidents evidencing the perennial presence of theft and violence at sea.  Nigerian waters are now rated worse than Somalia as the global maritime report on piracy has put Nigeria on the spot.

There have been many a great additions to the spectrum of dangers to the maritime economy. Illegal activity in protected areas, import/export of prohibited goods, exploitation of preserved and endangered natural resources, marine pollution, illegal maritime arrivals, biosecurity risks, and maritime terrorism are some of the primary factors comprising this notorious list. But still, it is maritime piracy that continues to be the greatest troublemaker of them all.

Somalia has seen unprecedented amounts of violence, types of which were unknown to modern day shipping. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has spent a great amount of resources to fight against this growing threat of maritime piracy by making use of international relationships with maritime agencies, encouraging heightened collaboration between states, strengthening defenses of potentially vulnerable vessels and promoting greater vigilance among ship owners.

Maritime security threats are an amalgamation of various concerns and thus attempting to solve one problem without understanding other associated threats will more often than not result in a failure.

For instance, Somalian piracy was the end result, but it had its origins in illegal unreported and unregulated fishing. The fishermen, deprived of their livelihood by foreign IUU fishing vessels, resorted instead to maritime piracy and so a criminal enterprise was born.

The same is now transpiring in the Gulf of Guinea and Southeast Asia, with the initial catalyst to both being states’ failure to control fisheries and their own exclusive economic zones.

A recent innovation to combat this has been integrated maritime surveillance systems, which enable the sharing of data between multiple agencies and ultimately nations. The use of artificial intelligence within the systems enables the most advanced to identify, through satellite tracking, those vessels displaying high-threat behavior and then highlight them to an operator. But this is up to the states being afflicted and concerned governments investing some amount of resource in association with IMB.

But until concrete steps are taken to curb this menace, it is the down to individual companies, vessel masters and ship-owners to take protect their on-board resources – both life and property which can be headache in absence of expertise needed to handle these High Risk Areas and associated routes.

To help protect ship-owners’ interest in these treacherous waters, Alphard’s Security division combines the wealth of experience in our management structures and applies our expertise to provide a cost effective maritime product. We offer a highly competitive rate based on a detailed risk assessment and a tailored client focused product whilst maintaining the highest adherence to industry standards.

Alphard Maritime understands that Risk Assessments are a critical element of any counter-piracy solution. With our dedicated 24 hours Operations Department, we closely monitor all relevant sources of intelligence for information that will assist in the protection of our clients. Alphard invests in the right personnel who are able to interpret the data for the elements which are intrinsic with operational success. The detailed Risk Assessments are the output of this correlation of data that Alphard produces, which is very useful for every transit our teams undertakes. We provide tailored Intelligence Analysis reports which is collected and scrutinized from multiple reliable sources to provide our clients with a dedicated and effective view of any possible threats. 

We have a strong track record and a client list of over 300 companies, protecting more than 1000 merchant vessels (EXXON, BP, Anglo-Eastern, MOL, V Ships, Fleet Management, Columbia, Executive Ship management). We also provide maritime security services in West Africa which includes operations from/to Lomé in the highly dangerous Gulf of Guinea Piracy HRA - (High Risk Area).

 

For more information and enquiries – visit us at http://www.alphardmaritime.com/index.php/home/servicesdetail/20