Tuesday, October 19, 2021

New Guide to Aid the Employment of Private Maritime Security Teams Will Prove Invaluable

Useful Advice for Merchant Vessel Operators Transiting Dangerous Waters
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) has released a new information paper providing guidance on hiring Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs). The use of PMSCs on board merchant ships is widely accepted as one of the measures which can assist in keeping seafarers safe from harm and protecting vessels operating in areas of increased threat.

Whilst the Best Management Practices (BMP) used almost universally these days by ships with a transit through the many areas of ocean viewed as having the potential for piracy and kidnap do not recommend the employment of PMSCs aboard ships, the use of experienced and competent teams either on board the vessels, where legally permitted, or on a security escort vessel, can mitigate risk according to the OCIMF.

Despite international naval outfits such as Operation Atalanta providing some excellent cover, the objective of the new guide is to better educate owners and operators of cargo ships as to what is available to them in terms of accompanying private security which should only be employed after a full assessment of risk and a robust screening of the proposed suppliers.

The assessment of the situation will require the services of a qualified auditor with all the relevant ISO certifications (9001, 28007 and 18788) due to the myriad factors which, if overlooked, could potentially cause major problems as we have seen in the past. By their very nature such security teams will be carrying some serious weapons through a range of national waters and it is essential that all documentation is in order.

The new OCIMF guide is likely to prove invaluable, particularly to smaller operators which may have transits into waters which are unfamiliar to them. The guide walks the reader through every facet of ensuring that the security team selected for the mission will be suitable in any given circumstance and can be downloaded for free HERE.