US-based company Armed Piracy Defence is proposing a centralised approach to ensure that all ships within high risk areas will have anti piracy security teams on board. These security teams would have common protocols and procedures to provide quality armed security service to ships transiting pirate-infested waters.
From its command centre in South Florida, Armed Piracy Defence gives thousands of shipping companies access to 25 maritime security companies and their available teams. These companies have 125 teams in the High Risk Areas at any given time. The plan is to include as many as 400 security teams that will be stocked by floating armouries, to protect vessels in danger zones. These teams will be able to cover all of the 150 ships on the riskiest routes, moving in and out of the Indian Ocean High Risk Areas each day.
Lieutenant (ret) Dave Daniel Rachimi, CEO of Armed Piracy Defence (APD), said that it is imperative to provide armed security for all vessels travelling in the High Risk areas. To date, no ship with armed security personnel on board has been hijacked.
He said that there is no chance of an attack on Somalia to try and stop the pirates so a standardized approach, with private security teams on each vessel is the only way to go. Ship owners would report their entry into the High Risk Area (HRA) and APD would do the rest in a “one stop shop service”.
There are numerous benefits of using this centralised approach. From the command centre of Armed Piracy Defence, the activities of 25 maritime security companies are monitored so that the real time location of security teams, weapons and armoury vessels is known at all times. When there is a change in course, a delay or anything that requires dispatch of a new team or resources, APD can contact a qualified team from any number of authorised companies that are in the HRA already. Teams that are there can be in place within 12 hours. By using teams on a repetitive basis from one port to another, it lowers the costs of bringing a new team into the area, APD said.
Rachimi said that every vessel entering the high risk area should be registered and a security team placed on board. As soon as a team of guards finishes a mission, they will have a new mission sent to them from the centre.
By overseeing many teams from different companies but with one curriculum of training, APD can ensure that all teams adhere to a strict code of conduct in all their dealings with ship crew and captain by issuing tactical and procedural log books and guidelines concerning teams on the ships before, during and after the missions. The drill routines on the ship including the bridge, citadel, weapon safety, viewing and detection and multi skiff attacks adhere to security protocols that are signed as part of the agreement process.
In case of emergency or calamity crews can be pulled from the surrounding area to assist with challenging situations. The teams can count on an alert being sent out to other team at the same area and to naval forces to come and back them up. Any incidents can be analysed and investigated in a standardized manner, with the outcome of the conclusions being spread out to the anti-terror teams that are at sea.
The recent attack of more than 50 pirates on two Iranian ships has brought to light the need for further precautions, Rachimi said. It is no longer multiple skiff attacks but swarm attacks. More ammunition, better sniper equipment, ex-military guards, better protective equipment, hands free radio communication between the team members and officers, drills related to swarm attacks and those related to the citadel and radar detection and better communication between the master/ officers and team leaders are all essential as this pirate tactic presents itself.
Billions of dollars are being spent on the damages from piracy. Rachimi said that with US$20 million dollars, APD could put together an integrated command and control centre and seven armoury vessels and the supplies needed to protect ships entering the high risk area.
Rachimi noted that every year insurance companies pay US$250-280 million to pirates. “It is another type of terror where the whole world economy is in their hands,” Rachimi said of the pirates. If the insurance companies contribute a small fraction of the amount of the ransoms to the creation of this centralized approach, they can help rid the world of piracy as opposed to giving positive reinforcement to pirates.
At the moment, Armed Piracy Defence is using its own resources to pursue the goal of a centralised command centre. Rachimi said he is approaching all the ship owners and maritime security companies in the world. Although he does have the eyes in real time on the ships and maritime security companies in the high risk areas, he still needs to subcontract all aspects of each job. This is time consuming and costly.
He said that the framework for the single umbrella organisation is there already, it is just a matter of getting people to join and companies need to sign on to be a part of it. Ultimately there will be a website for ship owners and maritime security companies to join with a fee for the tactical curriculum and guide, and the access to the security needs of the shipping companies. “It’s mission possible,” he said, as there is sufficient manpower, weaponry and training available. “We have all the ingredients to do it right-and halt piracy from a world problem to a marginal problem”.
Rachimi said that APD is open to ideas and collaboration from shipping, insurance and maritime security companies to improve on the system as it continues to develop.