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Armed Guards Kill Two Indian Fisherman- “…suspected to be pirates” February 21, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News, Piracy & Maritime Security.
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According to the Times of India, armed guard aboard an Italian merchant (Enrica Lexie) vessel shot and killed two Indian fisherman last night that they “…suspected to be pirates.”  According to the Italian government, the vessel did not respond to warning lights.  According to the Indian fisherman, no prior warning was given.  Here is where it gets somewhat questionable: “Two fishermen in a boat were killed after guards onboard the Italian merchant vessel fired at them off Alapuzha coast last evening, suspecting them to be pirates.”  While the facts are not yet public on what exactly happened, my personal view is that this particular episode is has serious issues. Based on other reports, the guards were members of the Italian navy and NOT private security. (more…)

Armed Guards- The end of the “Golden Age” of Somali Piracy? February 17, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News, Piracy & Maritime Security, Risk & Risk Management.
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Debate over the use of armed guards has raged for several years as the those who advocate for the use of armed guards applaud their use and those who oppose their use argue that they are ineffective or exacerbate the problem.  Last year I wrote a whitepaper on how armed guards prevent hijackings.  (Deterrence Theory).   With 2012 we are finally are beginning to see objective data on the impact of armed guards.  David Rider’s article: “The Pirate Surge That Never Was” outlines some interesting facts that demonstrate that armed guards are the best line of defense for a ship in high risk waters. According to statistics in the article, October 2011 saw 26 attacks with only one successful hijacking.  Of the 26 attacks in October 2011, fully 16 of them were repelled by armed guards on the vessels.  November 2011 saw 11 attacks with 5 being repelled by armed guards.

When asked why pirate attacks are down in 2011, Robert Young Pelton, who publishes SomaliaReport.com states unequivocally: (more…)

Part 2: Vetting Security Companies & Their Principals February 15, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Risk & Risk Management.
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As I read Kevin Doherty’s questions for vetting security companies, I felt compelled to add some additional commentary.  It is important to really do your due diligence on the principals of security companies.  It is the leadership that will define the ethics, and attitude of the organization.  If the owner is prone to dishonesty or misrepresentations then the staff is likely to follow their lead.  Unfortunately, in the high risk world of maritime security (and other security) the fallout can cost more than money. In a very real sense, lives can be lost.

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Vetting Armed Security Providers February 13, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Risk & Risk Management.
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Nexus Consulting’s CEO, Kevin Doherty was kind enough to let me post a questionnaire his company developed specifically for companies considering the use of armed security on ships.  Nexus has conducted hundreds of transits through the Gulf of Aden and is one of the original maritime security companies and currently one of only 3 companies in the US that work with US Flagged vessels.  Please download the document here.

Nigerian Pirates Kill 2 in Attack on Cargo Ship February 13, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News, Piracy & Maritime Security, Risk & Risk Management.
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In the increasingly dangerous waters off of West Africa and in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigerian pirates attacked a cargo ship and killed the captain and chief engineer.  This attacks comes on the heels of another attack off the coast of Benin last Thursday.  The attack took place about 110 nautical miles off the coast of Lagos.  Read the story here.

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