Much has been made of the fact that Somali pirates hijacked zero vessels in 2013. This headline grabbing statistic makes great reading, however, as with most things the truth is somewhat more complicated.
According to the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) progress is undoubtedly being made against Somali based piracy. However, in announcing a seminar on international maritime security standards, the association stresses the importance of understanding why we are finally making headway against pirates and of how delicately poised the improvements are.
Undoubtedly shipping industry adherence to industry Best Management Practices (BMP) has been vitally important, so too has been the reassurance of patrolling navies. However, the single most effective protection and deterrent against pirates has been the widespread deployment of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) onboard vulnerable vessels.
Enhanced professionalism within the private maritime security industry has acted as a catalyst for the protection of vessels, and it still remains that no armed merchant vessel has yet been hijacked. Despite successes, piracy clearly remains a danger with pirates still operating, and all stakeholders are urged to avoid complacency.
SAMI believes that one of the most important and significant drivers behind the improvement in private maritime security has been the industry wide acceptance and development of a new standard for security providers. The International Organization for Standardization ISO/PAS 28007:2012 is being rolled out, and companies are investing and working hard towards certification.
To provide feedback on the experiences of adopting and developing the international standard, SAMI is hosting a seminar to focus on “lessons learned”. The seminar will provide reaction to the development of the standard, the needs which drove it, as well as unique impressions on how it is being implemented and feedback from auditors and those being audited.
Speakers from BIMCO, the ISO project team, UK Accreditation Service, the European Commission and the prospective certifying bodies will provide a unique insight into the ways in which the standard will affect the businesses delivering security and their client shipowners/operators too.
The seminar is being held onboard the “HQS Wellington” in London on 29 January 2014 from 13:30 to 17:30 (GMT). Full details can be found at http://goo.gl/kacVTS