The role of Private Security Companies

Gerry Northwood OBE is applying his experience as a Captain in the Royal Navy to his new role as the Chief Operating Officer of Maritime Asset Security & Training Ltd to ensure his client’s safety when operating in the maritime realm.  Northwood told The Cipher Brief that private companies, like his, fill in the gaps where governments simply do not have the resources or personnel to ensure complete safety in international and territorial waters.  He discussed the challenges his clients face in the Gulf of Guinea.

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The Indian Ocean: Too much change, too soon?

At a time of increasing activity by Somali pirates, it is perhaps a good time to ask if our risk assessments of the situation in the Indian Ocean are fit for purpose.

Gerry Northwood is COO of MAST, the leading maritime security company, and a former Royal Navy officer experienced in counter-piracy and counter-terrorism operations.

MAST recently commented on the Joint War Risk Committee decision to move the eastern boundary of the High Risk Area (HRA) to 65 degrees East, saying the following:

“We are apprehensive about the JWC’s decision to reduce the insurance HRA in the western Indian Ocean but welcome their caution in only reducing the eastern boundary. This ensures the HRA is still broadly aligned to the UKMTO reporting area and sends a clear message that all voyages by commercial shipping through the Indian Ocean should be comprehensively risk assessed. 

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HRA reduction could give false sense of security to maritime industry, MAST warn

  • BMP4 High Risk Area (HRA) reduction in Indian Ocean to come into force on Tuesday 1 December 2015
  • Significant development which will be received favourably by many in shipping industry but could send false signal
  • Ships which relax security measures in response to HRA reduction could be targeted by opportunistic Somali pirates
  • Current political instability in Somalia and illegal fishing off coast suggest return to piracy a genuine possibility

Shipping companies could find themselves victims of Somali pirate attacks as a result of the reduction of the High Risk Area (HRA) in the western Indian Ocean coming into force from today, MAST has warned.

The decision announced by the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (GCPCS) in October to reduce the HRA off the coast of Somalia was welcomed by many sections of the Shipping industry, but this could ultimately increase the number of attacks by opportunistic and organised pirate groups, Gerry Northwood, COO of Maritime Asset Security & Training, has said. (more…)

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