Sea Marshals and the Growing Need for Maritime Security

The other day as I climbed up the pilot ladder and went to the poop deck, I was taken aback by the sight of a mannequin in army-fatigue standing erect with his arms shoved up. He was staring out with more than half of his body visible above the gunwale. Clearly, the dummy was supposed to carry a gun which was missing.

“We do place dummy guns here when we are sailing in troubled zones”, said my escort, when I enquired about it on my way up to the bridge. “This vessel has three of them at various points”, he added.

Once upon the bridge, I asked the master about the justification of carrying fakes instead of the real ones in troubled waters. “We do carry real ones in troubled waters Mr. Pilot,” he quipped. “They are called Marshals”. “We hire them at Colombo when we cross the Arabian Sea. We have three to four of them on every voyage and pay anything between $200 and $300 each, every day” he added.  These toys supplement them.

Maritime security
Credits: Global Security

 

Frankly, that was the first time I had boarded a vessel which had on board models guards for ship security and for that matter, that particular ship was the first one which revealed to me that ship owners hire marshals as a anti piracy policy when ships pass piracy affected areas. May be I was kept in the dark by some others because of their internal security policy or may be the subject did not arise.

Well, it was like a new beginning to me. I started delving into the subject for more and more information. I gathered that private companies have come up, on both sides of the Arabian Sea, who have ex-marines or naval soldiers on their payroll. When requisitioned, they send them on board. They carry weapons and it’s their firepower that was successful in thwarting advancing pirates. Apart from that, antipiracy methods such as citadel, non-lethal lasers, and some other methods are also extensively used at the sea to fight pirates.

Shipping companies like Cosco, Torm, etc have opted for these armed guards on board as a safety measure. Several maritime security companies have started providing ship security services as a result of sudden increase in demand for such services. Moreover, maritime insurance for piracy attacks has also become a mandatory thing for ships plying in piracy affected areas.

International Maritime Bureau reports state that by 25th June this year (2012), there have been 168 attacks and 19 hijacks while the Somali pirates are currently holding 13 vessels with 185 hostages. These figures are lower than that of the previous year and having armed guards on board is one of the reasons.

marine security

International shipping agencies have sought intervention of the UN regarding formation of a UN force, members of which will be posted on every ship plying through these areas, i.e., in and around the Gulf of Aden and Malacca Straits. Countries themselves are changing their laws to facilitate these armed postings.

Mike Penning, the shipping minister of UK, has stressed upon framing up of laws that can give seafarers of his country protection from sea pirates. Germany has allowed guards with semi automatic weapons for ships carrying their flag. Indian navy has been escorting ships for last few years through the Arabian Sea.

On 24th April, this year, Government of India had tabled the Piracy Bill 2012, which has stringent provisions of life term and even death sentence of the pirates, irrespective of their nationalities.

Framing of these stringent laws, globally, allowing Sea Marshals on board, and other on-board safety measures might keep the sea pirates at bay.

It is also important that seafarers are trained to tackle piracy attacks by teaching them about the actions to be taken during piracy attacks and negotiating with pirates if necessary. Both offline and online anti piracy courses are also available to train maritime professional on anti piracy techniques.

19 Comments

  1. What is ships protocol when in high piracy waters. Also what is the job of the sea marshals. Thanks.

  2. I am retired from pak navy after serving 19yrs as a seaman with belieze cdc and two ships experience and Also looking for a. Seamarshls job i have lots of experience in seamarshls job.. I also worked on chaina fishing trawlers for one year as. a seamarshal in somalia..

  3. Hey, 4 years service in the German Army (TC Leopard) German § 34a GewO, MS-Office, 3 years work in english speaking countries (Israel, South Africa). Driving-Licence, new training in medical aid help and fire fighter help, Deescalation training. Is there a chance to work on a ship ?

  4. good day,im 11years in philippine airforce,.im a graduate of sniper course and helisniper course,.all of my 11years in the service is in the field,.hire me because i know i can help you,.thank you

  5. Good day I’m 11yrs in service in Philippine army,signal trained and Harris hand held and Harris Manpack… all of my 11yrs military service hoping you will hire me sir good day and god bless….

  6. Hi
    i had CDC Licence for sea marshal jobs if any one interested to hire sea marshal pls let me know

  7. I have experience 18years lndian Army and. 2years sea line as a MSTL
    I have interested your good company
    Let me know more

  8. I have 24 yrs experience in Law Enforcement, fire fighter experience, bachelors degree, current passport. No criminal record. I am trained cqb, ground fighting, qualified with most any firearm.

  9. Ex Canadian armed forces 23 years service in the armoured corps. trained on many small arms and crew served weapons. I would like to apply for service in an anti piracy role. Thank you.
    Sgt (ret) Guy lefebvre CD, RSE.

  10. Warrant Officer class 1 Infantry, with 20+ years service. interested in serving as maritime security.

  11. What action should the PMSC takes when a sea marshal fallen sick or died on board under normal cause

  12. I have experience 22years Sri Lanka NAVY and Sea Mashal experience.
    I have interested your good company
    Let me know more Good day.

  13. Dear Sir,
    Good day.

    Please kindly note that I would like to join your company.

    I am UGSP Kumara from Sri Lanka.I had been working Sri Lanka Navy belong to Special boat squadron (SBS) for 12 years. Then I joined Maritime industry and work 7 years since 2012. One and half years worked as team leader also worked more than 60 merchant wessel against the Somalian Piracy.

    So, Could I join your company.
    Please consider above mentioned my request and comfirm receipt.

    Thanks and kind regards,
    Kumara.

  14. Dear Sir,
    Good day.

    Please kindly note that I would like to join your company.

    I am UGSP Kumara from Sri Lanka.I had been working Sri Lanka Navy belong to Special boat squadron (SBS) for 12 years. Then I joined Maritime industry and work 7 years, One and half years worked as team leader also worked more than 60 merchant wessel against the Somalian Piracy.

    So, Could I join your company.
    Please consider above mentioned my request and comfirm receipt.

    Thanks and kind regards,
    Kumara.

  15. I am UGSP Kumara from Sri Lanka.I had been working Sri Lanka Navy belong to Special boat squadron (SBS) for 12 years. Then I joined Maritime industry and work 7 years, One and half years worked as team leader also worked more than 60 merchant wessel against the Somalian Piracy.

    I already have following documents below.

    1. Criminal records check.
    2. Proof of commendable military service.
    3. Military discharge certificate.
    4. STCW95 (All four models.
    5.Proficiency in security training for seafarers with designated security duties.(SDSD)
    6. Proficiency in security awareness.
    5. Weapon competency certificate.
    7. Passport (1 year validity)
    8. Seaman’s book (1 year validity)
    9. Yellow fever vaccination certificate.
    10. Drug and alcohol test.
    11. Physically and mentally fit confirmation letter for security officer.
    12. Medical training certificate (Basic Trauma care certificate)

    So, Could I join your company.
    Please consider above mentioned my request and comfirm receipt.

    Thanks and kind regards,
    Kumar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.