Maritime security has become an important requirement for merchant’s vessels over the last decade due to the increased threats from pirates across the world. Though the maritime industry witnessed a decline in pirate activities, including that of Somali Pirates, in last few years, new threats are reportedly on the rise now in other parts of the word. Latest reports suggest a steady increase in the reported incidents of piracy and regions such as the Gulf of Guinea accounts for a high percentage of the incidents.
Increasing shipping piracy threats have resulted in huge losses for the shipping companies, forcing them to find new methods to battle the piracy. In order to tackle this problem successfully, many security companies have started to provide maritime security services, which are custom made for the present modern piracy at sea. In the recent past, several countries across the world have introduced legislation and rules to help the shipping companies to place armed guards on board the vessels to safeguard the ships from the acts of piracy. The new rules allow the vessels to seek the help of private maritime security companies (PMSC) that are capable of providing qualified security personals to keep the ship, crew and cargo safe. Across the world, there are many such maritime security companies which command a unique respect for the stellar security services they offer. Here is a list of 11 such firms providing maritime security services.
Established in 1999, Hart Maritime, part of Hart Integrated Solutions, is one of the established maritime security providers across the world. Hart offers an array of maritime protection services to help shipping as well as offshore companies and ports to protect their assets and employees from risks including pirates attack. According to the firm, Hart involves in at every stage of the project to ensure effective security and risk mitigation. Hart offers protection against piracy attacks in areas including the Indian Ocean, South East Asia and the Gulf of Guinea. When required, Hart’s security team works with the local navy and coastguard to resolve the crisis. In addition, the company also provides extensive marine security training to international shipping conglomerates and government authorities.
The Malta-based Seagull Maritime Security offers a number of maritime security and anti-piracy services, helping the vessels make a safe and secure voyage. Seagull Maritime supports vessels, especially commercial merchant ships that are passing through the high-risk areas of the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to secure the goods and seafarers abroad. The security teams of the Seagull Maritime Security include personals who have served Naval Commando and elite special operations units, trained and qualified to act against all kinds of threats at sea, particularly the maritime piracy. According to the firm, the security teams of Seagull have successfully provided security service to hundreds of voyages, often effectively battling the pirate attacks.
MUSC, an acronym for Maritime and Underwater Security Consultants, has been providing maritime security services for the past 37 years. MUSC performs anti-piracy security, ship security, port security and security assessments for shipping companies. In addition, the firm provides security services for subsea pipelines and ensures effective disposal of explosive materials. MUSC, a company that is licensed by the UK government to offer armed maritime security services, provides services such as onboard security teams, counter-piracy auditing and vessel hardening and route-planning & vessel monitoring. The firm also offers consultancy, training, and support to fight against the threats of weapons and drug smuggling, human trafficking and illegal immigration, among others. Similarly, the services pertaining to marine environment safeguards are also provided by MUSC to the industry.
Hudson Analytixoffers a four-way marine security program that encompasses services to shipping companies, commercial vessels, ports and also onboard security services. Under vessel and port security services, Hudson Analytix provides a number of elements such as planning, assessment, training programs, security consulting services, ensuring a complete security supports to the clients. The vessels that are ensured security by the Hudson team include general cargo, RO-RO container, bulk carriers, oil/chemical tankers, offshore vessels, and FPSOs etc. Furthermore, Hudson’s Cyber Risk Management delivers tools and support required to understand and manage cyber risk.The Company has been accredited as a Recognised Security Organisation (RSO) internationally and its extent of operations span around 1,800 vessels and 300 ports internationally.
One of the significant players in the field of maritime security, Solace Global is an ISO accredited firm with an extensive experience in vessel protection. Solace offers security services and performs anti-piracy operations for more than 5000 vessels across the world. The clients of Solace include commercial shipping companies, cruise liners, oil majors and superyacht owners. The service provided by the firm include vessel protection, a maritime security consultancy, stowaway prevention, ship security audits, maritime intelligence & vessel tracking and crew training etc. According to Solace, using both armed and unarmed security solutions, the company provides complete desktop risk assessments, remote risk consultancy, on-site security audits and tracking to its clients.
Based in Great Britain, MAST provides extensive maritime security services and is known for its detailed services in the most cost-effective manner. According to the MAST, it is one of the first securities companies to legally house private-armed guards on merchant vessels and yachts. Under its maritime security wing, MAST offers services in the high-risk areas in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Guinea and the Sulu Sea. MAST also has its offices in countries like South Africa, Malta, Djibouti and Oman.
Securewest International is a security service provider that offers marine security services not only to civilian ships but to naval vessels as well. The company provides risk management services including vessel tracking, ship accompaniment and architectural security services for commercial and cruise vessels, offshore companies and military departments. Certified to ISO 28007, Securewest offers services to vessels transiting through Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Guinea regions. The company ensures the service of highly experienced maritime security personals and advanced escort vessels. Recognised internationally for its counter-piracy and ISPS preparatory services, Securewest is part of the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) and offers training courses that are approved by agencies including UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
With offices in the UK and the UAE, Neptune Maritime Security offers services to commercial vessels, cruise ships, superyachts, Ports & Terminals and oil and gas industries. Neptune’s security services are unique as it offers customised maritime protection to counter maritime piracy. The Company’s security services are also flexible and are offered based on the singularity and extent of a security threat. According to Neptune, the company has carried out 4,000 protected voyages in the High-Risk Area of the regions including the Indian Ocean and the West African Gulf of Guinea. The firm also provides security training to facility security officers and other crew members to ensure complete security of the vessels.
One of the prominent security service providers, ESPADA carries out expert security measures, emergency evacuations and logistical processes as part of its land and maritime operations. The company brings in the highly qualified military and civilian expertise in performing maritime security and anti-piracy operations across the world. In addition to anti-piracy operations, the maritime-based security wing of ESPADA performs counter-terrorism and asset protection, helping the commercial and other ships to transit through the high-risk area safely. The security personnel of the ESPADA serve vessels transiting through in the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean Basin and the Arabian Sea. According to the firm, its security teams successfully accomplished more than 500 transits in the dangerous sea routes across the world.
STS maritime security offers its services mostly to the US government, important defence contractors and selected private entities across the world. The company offers professional, fully licensed, highly trained security teams and manages all governmental permits, administrative interface and logistical support for security operations around the world. STS delivers privately contracted armed security personals to the maritime industry, securing assets and crews from a variety of threats. Some of the services being carried out by the firm now include service to the US Flagged RORO fleets in HRW and protection to bulk carriers transiting east African waters with the help of ‘fly away’ security teams, among others.
An association of “Veterans of special troops,” also known as VST, Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Services offers services to organisations and assets including commercial vessels and superyachts. The group also supports port facilities, oil and gas industry and energy sector. According to the group, their service is available in regions such as Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Mozambique Channel, Gulf of Aden and West Coast of Africa. The security teams of VST offer services to vessels including bulk carriers, fishing ships, yachts, cruise ships and petroleum tankers, among others. The members of the group are trained personals from former special troops and marines. VST also delivers training to vessel owners and port operators in order to secure their assets and staffs from threats.
With the help of the services offered by these security firms, shipping companies can be assured of plenteous security to its crew and cargo. Since shipping piracy has become an unchecked evil in certain water parts and is spreading towards other oceanic networks, opting for maritime security services has become a choice that cannot be overlooked.
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