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“Over the years I have dealt with several window film suppliers, but GP Systems is the only one with the proven flexibility to meet the reactive demands of the marine industry. GP Systems’ made to measure ‘self-fit’ service provides vessel protection at short notice of a Gulf of Aden transit.“Richard Hussey, Managing Director, Wavetrain Maritime Security Ltd

Maritime Piracy

Piracy Attacks Up Sharply in 2009

According to the records of The International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center (IMB PRC), 2008 was a record year incidents of maritime piracy.

That record was subsequently broken in 2009, with a 38.5% increase in reported incidents, and the use of firearms more than doubling. Violence towards crew increased, along with the number of crew injuries.

The IMB PRC report for 2009 states that worldwide:

  • 406 incidents were reported
  • 153 vessels were boarded
  • 49 vessels were hijacked
  • 84 attacks were attempted
  • 120 vessels fired upon
  • 1052 crew were taken hostage
  • 68 crew were injured and eight killed

Pirates successfully hijacked four ships in a single week at the start of 2010.

Maritime Piracy - A Growing Problem

Despite the deployment of multi-national naval tasks forces to protect shipping, piracy has increased, and many experts anticipate further increases worldwide.

For the pirates, often from the world's poorest countries such as Somalia, piracy is big business. For them the risks are high but so are the rewards - in 2008 an estimated $150 million total ransom was paid into Somalia alone.

A Problem That is Hard to Solve

There are many factors making maritime piracy difficult to control, including:

  • Geographical expanse - it is not possible for even a multi-national naval task force to patrol all shipping areas. Pirates are using 'mother ships' to attack over 1,000 nautical miles from shore and into the Indian Ocean.
  • Lack of an effective central government, diplomatic embassies, police force and method of prosecuting pirates in Somalia.
  • Complexities of maritime law - typically many nations have a vested interest in a hijacked ship attacked in international waters, leaving it uncertain who should detain or prosecute the pirates.

Combating Piracy

Although there are a range of options for combating piracy, they do not address the instability of states such as Somalia, and their lack of legal structure to police their waters.

Naval Deployments

Despite multi-national naval task forces patrolling areas of high risk, piracy is still on the increase, with pirates operating further out to sea to avoid detection. Several experts expect piracy will surge further when naval operations cease.

Onboard Deterrents

There are various practices and onboard counter measures that can be adopted to deter pirate attacks:

  • Extra vigilance - increased crew on watch, night vision equipment, additional radar facilities, closed circuit television, etc.
  • Passive Defences - barbed/razor wire, window bars, netting, etc.
  • Non-lethal Devices - including water hoses, electric fences, long range acoustic devices, etc.
  • Crew Training - ensure effective anti-piracy procedures are in place and all crew are trained and drilled

Many reports recommend the installation of bomb blast window film as an important and cost effective way of protecting passengers and crew.

We've teamed up with some of the best maritime security consultants and suppliers in the business to provide a totally managed maritime security solution.

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