London-based GAC Protective Solutions, a company specializing in providing onboard crew training, pre-voyage preparation and defensive configurations for vessels traveling into high risk areas, has indicated that “non-lethal measures” are the “long-term key to combating sea crime.”
GAC’s Group Vice President Christer Sjödoff told delegates from the shipping and offshore industries who gathered in London to debate long-term, effective ways to tackle the threat of sea crime, that the “current focus on armed support for vessels transiting high risk areas should not become the norm.”
He added that the sole reliance on private maritime security companies is not a long-term solution to maritime security threats around the world.
Sjödoff explained the company’s views at a “Lunch and Learn” session in London, which addressed “the longer-term issues and developments of sea crime globally,” and laid out the case “to ensure that non-lethal preventative solutions are being seriously discussed.”
Also participating in the discussion were the maritime intelligence agency AKE, which detailed recent developments in sea crime across East and West Africa, and the law firm Stronachs LLP, which provides legal diligence services to banks and equity providers in the oil and gas industry. The firm delivered an insight into the legal responsibilities and threats of operating in high-risk areas.
Sjödoff explained that, “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.”
AKE’s Maritime Director, Rick Filon, noted: “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.”
He added that while continuous vigilance remains necessary, “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.”
Source: GAC Protective Solutions