HALF OF the ships transiting the Gulf of Aden still do not reflect best-practice advice on preventing pirate attacks, a London conference has been told.
Owners, operators and managers are still commonly leaving crews exposed to attack, warned Chris Chambers, chief of staff of the Combined Maritime Forces.
“If we see any ships that are not registered with anybody and with no visible self-protection, we are going to start collecting that data,” he told delegates last night.
“It’s important to note that we are not in the business of imposing best management practices,” he noted, “but it certainly makes our job harder if people aren’t following them.”
He again stressed the importance of being alert at dawn and dusk, registering with MSCHOA and having good countermeasures on board, including razor wires, visible fire hoses and active, visible watchmen along with fencing at the freeboard.
About 33 warships are in the region, but Chambers said this isn’t enough, particularly to protect crews left exposed to danger by such neglect.
“No, there are never going to be enough,” he admitted. “That’s a real concern for us, because at some point governments are going to say it’s too expensive.”
He declined to pinpoint a figure on the running costs for an average warship per day but said they were “very expensive”.
He also emphasised that military forces are not responsible for resolving piracy, governments are: “The industry needs to do something with the help of governments. The industry needs to put pressure on flag states. The military do what governments tell them.”
Giles Noakes of BIMCO agreed that this is an area where “we need government interference”.