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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Seychelles Presidency of UN Contact Group on Somali Piracy is a positive step

MAST welcomes the news that the Seychelles will be assuming the Presidency of the UN Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. (CGPCS)

For the full Seychelles News Agency report:

Click here

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.

Much to the credit of the Seychelles Government during the early days of Somali piracy in 2008 and 2009, they were quick to realise that piracy in the Indian Ocean represented a significant threat to the physical and economic security of the Seychelles archipelago.

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MAST Weekly Update 27/11/15

Libya

Glencore has signed a deal with the National Oil Company (NOC) in Tripoli to export 50% of all Libyan Oil. The officially recognised government based in Tobruk has taken umbrage to this announcement. They have been desperately trying to secure oil deals to export the oil under their control and pay their own version of the Libyan Central Bank. Unfortunately the legal ownership documents for all the oil in Libya remain in Tripoli. The Tobruk based government have warned they will prevent Glencore vessels from exporting oil. They have demonstrated in the past that they are willing to bomb ships entering Libyan ports if they feel it is necessary.

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Where will the terrorists strike next – is the Maritime community at risk?

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The French Oil Tanker Limburg ablaze following a terrorist attack in Oct 2002.

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.

In light of the Paris terrorist atrocities and the unfolding situation in Mali, it can be argued that there is no room for complacency in any sector of society, or business. There are several governments in Europe, including Britain, who having examined the intelligence and back briefings surrounding the Paris attacks are thinking “but for the grace of god go ….” In protecting our businesses, as well as protecting ourselves and those we work with, I suspect that we all agree that we do not wish to trust to luck let alone God. As ISIS and other affiliated Islamist terror groups take the gloves off it really is time to take stock and examine ourselves for vulnerabilities. There is only one thing we can be sure of at the moment, that Islamist Terror groups will continue to attack western targets wherever they can be found, and that they will target those that are easy to get at.

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MAST Weekly Update 18/11/15

Libya

Martin Kobler has taken over as the UN’s Special Representative in Libya.  The out going representative, Bernardino Leon, has left under a cloud of corruption accusations which biased him to the officially recognised Tobruk based government. This is embarrassing for the UN and presents a problem if the EU continues to threaten sanctions based on an agreement which has been thrown into doubt. Kobler has stated they must build on all the previous efforts to find a peaceful solution and focus on uniting the warring parties behind the threat posed by ISIL.

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