In the last few years the piracy threat on the seven seas has changed radically. A few years ago the largest threat came from pirates in the straits of Malacca. Nowadays we are facing hijacks of the vessels including the crew with armed pirates. Was the piracy area in the beginning limited to coastal areas like the Golf of Aden meanwhile through mother vessels the threat has extended to a much bigger area.
How can we operate as a professional organisation to make sure seafarer and vessel can safely pass through such a piracy-infected area. How to estimate the risks, what are the different options? All around private consultancy and security companies have started their business. Among them there are cowboys and highly professional organisations. It is a challenge for TOS to offer the clients the best options, to show them the right picture and the solutions. To find the right balance of safety and cost. According to us the main steps to be taken are:
Inventory of the risks:
- Looking at the route, using latest piracy attack information in combination with weather predictions.
- Vessel risk analysis
- Tracking & tracing and reporting of the vessel
- Looking at the safest route in accordance with latest up-to-date info
- Preparing a defence line of the vessel – training of the crew – safe room
- Joining a convoy when possible
- Armed guards on board (depending on flagstate regulations)
- Armed escort vessel
Over the last two years TOS sailed 29 vessels through the Golf of Aden, so far we were lucky and have not been confronted with any piracy attack. We made use of escort vessels, sailed in convoys, deviated the route, sailing around cape town. We trained our office crew (24 hrs service), the crew on board, optimised communication tracking & tracing. We keep ourselves constantly informed about the latest developments and we act in close cooperation with our clients, accordingly. TOS built up a lot of experience, we have to fit ourselves to these constantly changing threats.
Unmistakable, the tendency now is armed guards on board. Flag states and insurance companies were first reluctant, like we were. But times are changing. More and more armed guards are placed on board as a counter reaction to the increasing violence used by the pirates. As long as there is no political solution for this worldwide problem the maritime business has to look for the best solution. It must be a reasonable choice, taking into consideration costs and foremost safety of vessel and crew. TOS can advise you.
You can read about this service on our ship delivery page.