(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) The use of PMSCs onboard merchant ships is widely accepted as one of the measures which can assist in keeping seafarers safe from harm and protecting vessels operating in areas of increased threat.
While industry best management practice does not recommend or endorse the employment of PMSCs, the use of experienced and competent PMSCs either onboard the vessels, where legally permitted, or on a security escort vessel, can mitigate risk.
OCIMF has released a new information paper providing guidance on hiring Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs). This guidance is intended to help owners/operators with pre-selection considerations before using private maritime security services.
Any decision to engage the services of a PMSC may consider:
• Normal company screening due diligence.
• The current threat and risk environment.
• The output of the company risk assessment.
• Voyage plan requirements.
• Ship speed.
• Type of operations, e.g. seismic survey or cable laying.
• Levels of protection provided by navies, coastguards, and maritime police.
• Flag States approval - some Flag States do not allow the deployment of PMSC.
• Littoral States approval - some Littoral States do not allow the deployment of PMSC in territorial waters.
• The quality of the chosen PMSC.
The use of contracted security personnel onboard merchant vessels or the deployment of Security Escort Vessels (SEVs) should only be considered after a detailed threat and risk assessment and robust screening process have been completed.
In addition to the basic "know your company" checks above, the focus should be on the following: Details of certification, General Trade Control Licenses, weapon export licenses, weapon serial numbers and dates of certification/endorsements and approvals should be recorded within the review process. The review process should be conducted at the chosen provider's head office.
The person carrying out the review should be suitably qualified as a lead auditor and be familiar with ISO 9001, 28007 & 18788.
This guidance, along with the example and expectations checklist items at the Appendices, is intended to help owners/operators with pre-selection considerations prior to entering into any agreement with a PMSC.
Click below to download the OCIMF guidance paper for the Employment of Private Maritime Security Companies:
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