Do not use security guards in SE Asian waters: Skuld

Singapore: With piracy and armed robbery on the increase in Southeast Asia, P&I Club Skuld has warned shipowners to be wary of taking on the services of private maritime security companies (PMSCs).

While PMSC arrangements may be common for the Gulf of Aden and surrounding areas, owners were warned in an advisory to be very cautious about such arrangements in this region.

“The littoral states in this part of the world take matters of security very seriously and at present there are no arrangements or regulations in place that would allow armed PMCs to be on board vessels in the same way as in the GoA area,” Skuld noted.

There is therefore the risk of offending the laws of littoral states which could see vessels, crews and PMSC personnel detained and subjected to prosecution, the P&I club added.

Lower oil prices were unlikely to deter armed gangs from continuing to plunder small product tankers in the region this year, Skuld predicted.

“The likely monetary gain, and low cost of the attacks, are considered to provide continued motivation for the perpetrators and the risk is therefore one that will endure during 2015 and possibly beyond. The significant drop in oil, and consequently fuel, prices may be a factor going forward, but whether it will prove a sufficient disincentive remains to be seen,” the Scandinavian company warned.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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