MARITIME PIRACY | What peace of mind costs

THE PRICE for owners to keep their ships out of pirate clutches is about $80,000-100,000, a ship security authority told Fairplay today.

Costs for effective countermeasure depend on such factors as the type and size of the vessel, its design and equipment that’s already in place, said Christopher Ledger, director of the security agency Idarat Maritime. Idarat based its estimate on a 25,000dwt bulker with four cargo holds and one uninterrupted main deck.

“Protection and defence involve capital expenditure, while intelligence and training are operational costs and fall in the same basket as insurance and other general expenses,” he explained.

Defensive measures include physical barriers such as barbed wire, well-secured hatches, a protected citadel with the ability to control the vessel if the bridge is taken, at least two water cannon controlled from the bridge, basic personal protection for watchkeepers and bridge staff and bridge hardening, which provides protection against blast and bullets.

“The key operational cost is good predictive Intelligence, and this must not be skimped in most high-risk areas,” he emphasised. “It is a small but vital part of the mix.” Excluded in the cost estimates are an audit, training and retrofits of a vessel, for example moving pipework.

Ledger cautioned: “Nothing offers 100% protection. The aim must always be to assist and support the master.”

Source: SAFETY AT SEA INTERNATIONAL

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