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News

Pre-trip planning essential to avoid trouble at sea

Anvil Group : 21 November, 2008  (Technical Article)
Recommendations from The Anvil Group for prevention of maritime hijacking or piracy includes traveller monitoring and intelligence gathering
The Anvil Group has issued advice to shipping companies in light of the hijacking of a Saudi oil tanker by Somali pirates 700 miles off the Somali Coast. The Anvil Group has recommended that traveller monitoring and intelligence gathering systems should be put in place to provide added security for shipping companies and crewmembers as well as monitoring incidents that could potentially affect the route and travel arrangements.

The hijacking of the Sirius Star is the latest in a run of more than 60 vessels to be captured off the Somali coast this year, though the super tanker was much further south in the Indian Ocean, suggesting that Gulf pirates are moving into un-patrolled waters or that other pirate groups have increased their activities.

"We have seen that there is a pattern to the hijackings. Attacks often happen within days of ransom settlements for another ship, suggesting that pirates are acting in rotation from one hijacking to the next," said The Anvil Group Director, Matthew Judge. "The increasing occurrence of these attacks highlights the importance and necessity of shipping companies implementing safety and security procedures and carrying out extensive pre-travel risk assessments."

Through using systems such as The Anvil Groups' Employee Travel Monitoring Solution (ETMS) and Travel Risk Intelligence System (TRIS), shipping companies are able to track incidents such as these pirate attacks and locate employees whose health and safety could be compromised.

"The attacks can place many people in harms way and is important that shipping companies advise their crew on how to stay safe," adds Judge. "Any event that causes employee displacement and disruption to travel plans can have severe repercussions on the company itself. Our advice in situations such as this would be to plan and tailor trips to avoid hijacking hot zones by using software such as TRIS. Initially this could incur an extra cost, though the long term benefits would still far outweigh the suggested re-routing of ships that would result in extra sailing days, later cargo delivery and significant extra cost," adds Judge.
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