Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pirate Threat to Freight and Logistics Operations May Not Need Armed Response

Intelligence Can Ensure Violence is Not the Industry Norm
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Following the release of the latest defence against piracy tool which we wrote about last month, international logistics specialist GAC has released details of the recent 'Lunch and Learn' event hosted by GAC Protective Solutions, the strategic partnership between global freight shipping, logistics and marine services provider GAC with maritime intelligence agency AKE.

Christer Sjodoff, GAC's Group Vice President Solutions spoke about recent developments in maritime crime across East and West Africa whilst law firm Stronachs LLP, which provides legal diligence services to banks and equity providers in the oil and gas industry, also delivered an insight into the legal responsibilities and threats of operating in high-risk areas. Mr Sjodoff pointed out alternatives to the knee jerk reaction of arming vessels against attack saying:

"We hosted the Lunch and Learn session to address the longer-term issues and developments of sea crime globally, and to ensure that non-lethal preventative solutions are being seriously discussed. While there is value in providing armed support on some vessels transiting high risk areas, we feel strongly that this approach should not become a widespread industry norm. Rather, we should ensure that owners and operators have access to the latest intelligence regarding current and developing patterns of sea crime, as well as the means to proactively harden their vessels and train all crew members ahead of any voyage, both of which are fundamental to combating sea crimes."

Our previous article detailed the defensive measures actively promoted by GAC such as remotely operated water cannon from Unifire and partner AKE's Maritime Director, Rick Filon added to the debate saying:

"As an industry, we have rushed to arm ourselves against a violent threat, which is understandable. However, this is neither a proportionate response nor a sustainable long-term solution. Further, the simple presence of arms on board may even lead to an escalation of violence. Whilst we must always remain vigilant, it is clear that effective risk mitigation and the use of preventative solutions provide a global, cost effective and safe solution that is proportionate to the threat of sea crime."

Photo: A Unifire remote controlled water cannon in action.