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October 24, 2019
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Interview: All about Piracy

first_imgzoom Piracy has become a lucrative business and an ever more dangerous for those being targeted by it. Once at sea, seafarers expose themselves to various dangers, especially from those lurking from the shadows.As hijackings become more frequent and more intense, we wanted to find out more about piracy from those battling it, therefore World Maritime News staff talked to Thomas Jakobsson, Chief of Operations for maritime security specialists Sea Marshals. The European based risk management and security provider, Sea Marshals provides armed security personnel in the High Risk Area with an aim of meeting security threats in the maritime industry.WMN: What are the most important things seafarers should bear in mind if ever caught in a situation to deal with pirates?Jakobsson: “Remain calm, listen to the instructions given by your security team and follow the procedures you have been trained in. Follow BMP4 and if boarded do not resist, let the pirates have what they want. Goods can be replaced, lives cannot. Ship owners are more concerned about their crew than the vessel so it is important to remember that if you were to be taken as a hostage, there would be a huge team of people working to secure your return in the quickest possible time.” What are the most dangerous sea routes for mariners? Which are the current piracy hotspots, are they moving to Southeast Asia?Jakobsson: “Piracy like many other criminal activities identifies where there are gains to be made. For example during monsoon season we usually see increased activity in the Red Sea, particularly around the Bab-el-Mandeb straits, where there are many small islands making impromptu attacks far easier to launch. Interestingly the attacks are usually more aggressive as there is less opportunity during these months to make any real successful approaches.The West coast of Africa is continuously active year round with far more aggressive attacks being carried out. These of course adopt an entirely different model to the East coast pirates with a considerable lack of regard for human life in their style of attack and capture. The West coast pirate appears to have no desire to capture a vessel and manage the wellbeing of crew for a considerable length of time. They are far more likely to capture and threaten violence to the captors in order to gain a quick result.Piracy has always been around the Far East but again these piracy acts seem to be focused around the robbery of cash and electronic goods that they can resell.Everyone will have their own thoughts about emerging piracy ‘hotspots’ and our medium term risk analysis would indicate increased activities in areas such as Panama, Venezuela and the Caribbean.”What kind of piracy incidents prevail?Jakobsson: “As mentioned above there are many ‘styles’ of piracy which seem to be dependent on location. Any style or incident can prevail, the most successful are obviously the ones carried out on unprepared vessels/crews. The biggest danger to a vessel is ignorance or arrogance…the belief that your vessel could never be pirated.” What is the effect of piracy on the shipping industry, and are global powers doing enough to tackle the problem?Jakobsson: “The key effect on the shipping industry is reduced profit due to increased costs incurred through insurance, fuel and the addition of a professional security teams. The demographics which initiated the upsurge in piracy in 2008 still exist therefore most of the solutions ideally would come from a mixture of local and international government intervention. Piracy is normally ‘explained’ as being socially and economically driven…however the truth is piracy is a criminal activity, driven by need, greed and a desire to make money quickly.”Is the current role of security agencies enough to ensure safe passage to ships? Can it be expanded?Jakobsson: “What we do know is that no vessel carrying armed security guards through the East coast HRA has ever been successfully pirated. A well trained and managed team will possess all the necessary skills to help avoid 99% of attacks being successful. There are many professional security companies out there and in particular these will generally possess their ISO 28000/28007 certification. The role of the security agencies has already expanded to incorporate Threat Analysis, Risk Management, Risk Assessment and Mitigation. There are companies still providing only Armed Guards however, in our experience a holistic Risk Management approach is more successful solution.” What can you tell us about your capacities, and how can someone join Sea Marshals?Jakobsson: “Sea Marshals currently employ 120+ men which are split between British ex-military men and Eastern European ex-military men. We employ all our men on a 3 month on, 1 month off basis. All men have to be fully qualified and have a minimum of 5 years active military service history. We hold regular open days to recruit and applicants can check dates on our website.”  What is the demand for this kind of a profession?Jakobsson: “The demand has been relatively consistent over the last 18 months although it had diminished considerably since 2010-11. We have identified that less experienced Company Security Officers are inclined to accept risk for their companies to in the hope of gaining slightly more profit. We would recommend that all vessels are Risk Managed correctly and utilise Armed Security where it has been identified as a requirement.” Having in mind the recent case of AdvanFort’s vessel being detained by India, and raising charges against its crew, is the market regulated enough to make space for security agencies in the sector? What areas need to be covered?Jakobsson: “With the development of the ISO 28000/28007 standard I believe it will be, especially if the IMO recognise it as the quality standard for the industry. There are far too many who are willing to take uncalculated risks in order to make money and with little knowledge or due care for each countries rules. This will inevitably see difficulties for companies employing such providers. There is a fine line between price and quality and selecting the right PMSC is sometimes a difficult act. With companies that are ISO certified (UKAS approved) you can be confident that there is an excellent understanding of the industry supported by a fully documented management system.”Based on your experience, is there such a thing as honesty among thieves?Jakobsson: “Collaboration between Pirate Action Groups is common, it is evident that small handful of people manage the majority of piracy.” Speaking of future projections, what can we expect?Jakobsson: “The reduction of piracy incidents on the East coast can be attributed to the good work PMSCs do along with the Coalition naval forces that patrol the area, there is no two ways about that. Pirates have NOT gone away. Piracy like all business ventures adapts to it’s given environment. Rest assured if the naval forces in the area diminished, if all PMSCs downed tools, the days of high volume attacks, robbery’s and hijackings will return very quickly to their highest levels….when I hear the various shipping industries suggest that employing private security is a thing of the past it makes me seriously concerned for the shipping industry, vessels and most of all their crews because that would be, in my eyes, disastrous.”World Maritime News Staff, August 4, 2014last_img read more

October 8, 2019
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Probe on LTTE video

According to the police the 6 minute video was on the mobile phone of one of the youth and both of them were watching it at the time of the arrest. Both 18 year old boys were arrested and handed over to the Muttur police for further investigations. The police are investigating an LTTE video clip recovered from the mobile phone of a youth arrested in Muttur yesterday.The army intelligence unit had found the LTTE training video in the possession of two youth in Muttur yesterday, police sources said today. The police also recovered Rs. 50,000 in cash from the two youth. The police said it was still not clear if the youth had any direct connection with the LTTE.