“Dips in successful pirate hijacks can only mean a rethink in strategy for pirates themselves and is not a time for the shipping industry to become complacent,”
The MSC, part of the United Nation’s International Maritime Organisation, briefing took place in London on 16-25th May have introduced the guidelines to assure that private maritime security firms gain professional certification and standards. It has been the worry of certain parties that private maritime security firms are another growing 'armed group' that needs regulating.
David comments: “Part of the stipulations is for private firms to have established procedures that comply with relevant maritime legislation and requirements. Any company operating without strict procurement, deployment and management operations are functioning in a business model that pirates themselves would use.”
These concerns have been fuelled by an uncertainty in the level of force used to combat pirate attacks. David assures that Eos operatives employ humane measures where possible to counter attacks.
MSC include guidelines on the recruitment and training of personnel as well as the deployment of operatives on contracts. Previously private maritime security companies were fairly low key and reputations built by word of mouth. The increase in companies offering services has seen a rise in outbound marketing activity and aggressive awareness tactics. It is safe to say however that the majority of operatives contracted within private companies are highly trained ex-military and no vessel harbouring private maritime security teams has been successfully hijacked.
“We have our own training division with over 25 different maritime security and offshore protection courses. These courses have been developed over many years of combined experience combating pirates globally. Recently we launched a 12 day Vessel Protection Officers (VPO) course and we expect all our operatives to complete this course by the end of the summer to benchmark training and skills within maritime security.”
The Eos VPO course is unique to the industry and was MOD approved in January 2012 as a Level 3 qualification, eligible for Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCAS). Eos take skill set very seriously and has black marked operatives before now who do not adhere to their standards.
The shipping trade carry over 70% of the world’s trade commerce. Disruptions caused by pirate attacks have a significant impact to every nation both short term and long term. Communication channels are important and every effort is made by ship owners and operators to avoid pirate infested waters and to be able to counter attacks in a humanitarian way.
A further requirement from the new guidelines is to monitor communication processes between security operatives and vessels and the management of firearms and ammunition.
“As long as it is reasonable, workable and produced in consultation with the people who have to operate within any frameworks that are being set up, then there shouldn’t be any major issues,” says David.
Since 2006 Eos have provided expert consultancy and armed teams for protective vessel security and anti-piracy, specialist maritime security systems, threat intelligence, vulnerability surveys & risk assessments, asset hardening consultancy and full project management, physical protection, recruitment and manpower services, and ISPS compliance.
Standing at £10 million turnover in 2012, Eos has invested in a brand new training facility with real life simulator scenarios. New contracts are commencing on a weekly basis and over 1000 candidates are choosing to learn with Eos each year.