Incease in the demand for private maritime security forces

Incease in the demand for private maritime security forces

Maritime security concerns have escalated this year due to a variety of threats faced by ships, including missile attacks from the Houthis, Somali piracy, and seizures by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Shipowners increase the demand from specialized maritime private security firms to safeguard crews, vessels, and cargoes.

Particularly in areas like the waters off Yemen, where Iranian-backed Houthis have been targeting vessels, shipowners are actively seeking guidance. Recent incidents, such as the March attack on the bulk carrier True Confidence resulting in three deaths, have heightened these concerns. Additionally, the seizure of the MSC Aries by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in April has raised fears of further hostile actions.

Industry experts note a significant increase in demand for maritime security services, reflecting the growing apprehension within the shipping industry about potential large-scale conflicts in the Middle East. While armed guards have been a traditional solution against piracy, the evolving nature of threats requires innovative approaches to protection.

Despite recent declines in successful attacks, uncertainties remain regarding the security situation, particularly with the presence of vessels like the Behshad, suspected of providing targeting information to the Houthis. Concerns persist about the vulnerability of ships with links to certain countries, prompting recommendations for rerouting and heightened vigilance.

According to the Financial times, these are the Key events in Houthi campaign:

NOVEMBER 19 Galaxy Leader, car carrier, 50 nautical miles west of Hodeida Houthis boarded and hijacked the vessel from a helicopter. The ship and its 25 crew are still being held hostage.

DECEMBER 15 Al Jasrah and MSC Palatium III, container ships Separate attacks within hours played significant role in persuading large container shipping companies to start diverting around Cape of Good Hope

JANUARY 11 US and UK forces mount first of series of joint attacks on Houthi facilities

JANUARY 26 Marlin Luanda, fuel tanker, 60 nautical miles south-east of Aden A Houthi missile attack on the Marlin Luanda started a fire that the crew had to fight for 20 hours to bring under control

FEBRUARY 18 Rubymar, dry bulk carrier, 35 nautical miles south of Al-Mukha Vessel carrying 21,000 tonnes of fertiliser from Saudi Arabia to Bulgaria is only ship to have sunk as result of a Houthi attack

MARCH 6 True Confidence, dry bulk carrier, 54 nautical miles south-west of Aden Only Houthi attack to have led to fatalities. Three seafarers died when a missile hit an accommodation block housing crew cabins

Amidst these challenges, maritime security companies are adapting their services to provide comprehensive risk assessment and mitigation strategies. However, skepticism exists about the long-term sustainability of the industry, with some questioning the willingness of shipping companies to invest in sophisticated security measures once immediate threats diminish.

Source: Financial Times

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