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Piracy

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An old problem is making new headlines in the Maritime community worldwide. It's piracy. With the increased use of mother ships, pirates now have a platform for staging their attacks over a dramatically extended range. You never realize how vulnerable you are as a merchant mariner until the attack comes to the vessel you're on An alarming increase in ship attacks requires ever greater preparation, diligence, training, and proper procedures to assure the safety of ships' crews and cargoes. Welcome to our program on piracy. Piracy describes acts of hostage taking, hijacking, armed robbery, or other malicious accidents ships and crews, in port or at sea, in local or international waters. The IMO has defined a high-risk area for piracy based on where most Somali-based pirate activity and attacks have taken place. Somali-based pirates have been known to conduct attacks throughout this area leading to the drafting of a set of IMO standards known as the best management practices. These standards can help ships avoid, deter, or delay piracy attacks in the affected areas. To help you better understand the best management practices, in this program, we'll point out five key vulnerabilities that can increase the threat of piracy. We'll introduce the preparations and training needed to reduce the threat. We'll look specifically at precautions ships should take when entering high-risk areas and we'll outline response measures if an attack is imminent or if pirates have boarded your ship. Piracy can occur at any time, not just at sea. The armed robbery that I experienced firsthand several years ago occurred at a dock. And we'll get expert advice and commentary from master mariner Captain Kelly Sweeney, whose ship survived a piracy attack in the Dominican Republic. And so I don't believe that you have to be any less vigilant just because you're at the dock. In some ways you have to be more vigilant. Recently, pirate activity has increased dramatically and the toll on ships' personnel have been horrifying. Over 800 crew members were taken hostage, 11 crew members killed, and 21 missing and presumed dead. Especially in areas that are high risk for piracy, a ship and its crew can increase their chances by making themselves less vulnerable. There are at least five key vulnerabilities that can increase your risk. Ships are more vulnerable to pirates at a low speed, less than 15 knots. Pirates will look for a low free board for easier boarding, 8 meters or less. A low sea state heightens vulnerability. Calm water allows pirates access that heightened sea states. Ships are made more vulnerable through inadequate planning procedures and training, and pirates will be encouraged by a visibly low state of alert and slow or confuse responses. The "Ship Security Plan" can help you prepare for prevent piracy in a high-risk area. It should spell out in detail the steps you need to take to prevent piracy well before any threat or attack. Your ship security plan should be adapted to the particulars, your own ship, crew, and course of transit. Every ship is different and I think it's essential that the ship's crew and the ship's officers have an input in the development of that plan in accordance with regulations. Ships should be prepared before entering a high-risk area-- notifying international agencies of transit plans, using recognized transit corridors, planning night travel, if possible, checking equipment and provisions, and of course, continuing to conduct regular drills and training. Conducting drills, piracy drills, is part of life at sea today. And the crew from the master on down to the galley attendant have to take those seriously. Because this is a real threat and when it happens, there's not going to be a lot of time to think twice or to make a plan then. You have to be ready and the plan has to be able to be implemented at a moment's notice. Your ship security plan should also specify potential defensive measures, such as readying fire pumps and fire hoses to deter invaders. Use your training and drilling time to double check all equipment that might be employed to discourage or fend off a piracy attempt. Every ship will prepare for piracy in its own way and that may include one or more new technologies and specialized equipment. Night vision equipment can allow the lookouts to see a possible attack during hours of darkness. Long-range acoustic devices direct high-intensity sound at pirates and have been proved effective. Water cannons are more than fire hoses. They're remotely controlled high-pressure water nozzles and can fend off small boats. More traditional security equipment can also be used to prevent attacks. Consider anti-piracy razor wire and hoistable spikes which can be installed before a ship enters high-risk areas and dismantled afterwards. Tear gas can also deter pirates from coming aboard a ship. Think about tools or machinery that might be used by a pirate as a weapon. Then if you're entering a high-risk area, secure those potential weapons in a safe area out of harm's way. A well prepared and trained ship and crew takes further precautions when actually entering an area at high risk for piracy. These may include raising the Maritime security level and implementing heightened security. Take additional precautions. Lock doors to restricted and accommodation areas, station additional lookouts for each watch, and post these additional lookouts so they maintain a 360-degree coverage, minimize on-deck work, and maintain full sea speed, if possible. Additionally, more and more ships are choosing to employ armed guards in the high-risk areas, especially large vessels traveling with valuable cargo. In some flag states, laws regarding the embarkation of firearms and other security related weapons are not always clearly defined. Vessel operators must be sure to check local rules and regulations as they differ between flag states. The very best defense against piracy is prevention, not allowing them the opportunity or the access in the first place. If that fails, you must rely on sound procedures and training. If a pirate attack is imminent, do everything possible to prevent the pirates from boarded, but if pirates do board your ship, be submissive. Protect your life and the lives of all the crew. When attack is imminent, the ship's master will sound the ship's alarm. Give immediate notification to all appropriate agencies and company personnel, activate all defensive systems, and maximize the ship's speed. Take defensive measures spelled out in your security plan. Here are some recommended responses. If under attack, lock all doors to all restricted areas. Issue flashlights and radios to crew members to ensure good communication. Leave all alarm systems on and operational. Use evasive maneuvering. The bow wave and stern wash may deter or swamp small boats. Activate fire pumps and used previously-affixed fire hose nozzles to repel boarders with a strong spray. And take measures to protect the crew in a specially designated piracy muster station, often called a citadel. There should be a safe area that's designated and that everybody is aware of. It could be locked from the inside and it has provisions and facilities that could accommodate the crew there for an extended period of time. This safe haven or citadel allows the crew to isolate itself from the pirates and to hold out in a protected area. If emergency notifications have been made and you're well provisioned and prepared, time is on your side. Make sure you have adequate plans for escaping the citadel in case of emergency and maintain tight control over access to all locked and secured areas. The keys should be in the control of a senior officer. And if there is a common area where keys are normally held, they should be taken away and put in a secure area where a pirate or some armed robber who's boarded the vessel cannot access them. If pirates have succeeded in boarding our ship, try to stay calm. If possible, notify authorities and shore side personnel, be submissive and cooperative with your attackers, and wait for instructions. An attack by pirates is not a time to be a hero. Be calm, respond, and cooperate. Do not antagonize your attackers. Be alert for communications from the captain and other officers. This may include shutting down parts of the ship and other passive defensive measures. A well prepared and trained crew is the best defense against pirates and armed robbers. Your responses should be well rehearsed and automatic. Continually update your "Ship Security Plan" to respond to the most current threats and for best practices in defense and in survival.

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Duration: 12 minutes and 4 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 7
Posted by: maritimetraining on Feb 8, 2017

Piracy

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