Home / Shipping News / Interviews / Mozambique Channel to be the new piracy hotspot for this year says maritime security expert

Mozambique Channel to be the new piracy hotspot for this year says maritime security expert

The Mozambique Channel, as well as the entrance to the Persian Gulf, are expected to become some of the new pirate hotspots for piracy, says Richard Mcenery, Operations Director with Ocean Protection Services Ltd, one of the companies currently offering

security services onboard vessels. In a special interview with Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide, Mr. Mcenery, states that the only long-term and viable solution to the plague of piracy is a land-based one, as this is where each pirate is “œborn”. He also says that more and more countries will allow armed guards onboard vessels, following the example set by the UK, Norway and Germany.

The question in everyone’s lips these days, is why is piracy so hard to stop? Could you tell us your view on the subject?

Piracy is hard to stop because the Navies don’t have the de-restriction they need and want. But I don’t think the pirates will ever be stopped by navies patrolling the Ocean. The only solution to piracy is a land based one.

Despite international efforts, we’ve seen that the number of attacks on vessels are increasing in various regions around the world, not only in the Gulf of Aden. Why is that?

Pirates and thieves can see the success by the Somalia pirates and the way they get away with it. So in some cases it will be the copy cat effect. But the pirates around the world are all very different in what they want and need.

Which would say are the current piracy hot-spots that ships should be careful?

The new hotspot for this year I think it will be the Mozambique channel, But I also feel the pirates will possibly start to realize the embarkation and disembarkation point of armed guards, they will start to use that as their advantage. So possibly the entrance to the Persian Gulf could be a new hotspot this piracy season.

We’ve seen that pirates have been quite resourceful and flexible in terms of adopting new tactics. How have they evolved over time, especially after an increase of navy patrols?

They have been able to evolve because of money from their original attacks years ago. Some pirate groups will have invested in better firearms and boats, while other pirates will still have the same firearms and boats as 2 years ago. But the tactics and the way the pirates think has definitely evolved. Pirates understand the Navy and the reaction of the Ship’s crew when pirates are spotted. This is why a vessel should have armed or unarmed guards.

One controversial theory suggests that pirates are been notified of a target-ship’s exact location through “œinsider” information. Do you believe that this is the way they manage to outsmart patrol boats and other security measures in place, using the element of surprise and thorough knowledge of the ship’s course?

I do not believe this, but I am not saying it may not happen, I still believe that the pirates take what they come across. But pirates may start using tactics like this as it has become harder for them to capture vessel, due to the amount of ships with security guards.

Which types of ships are the pirates’ favorites?

Slow, low and full of valuables. This is what is easiest for them.

What services does your company offer to ship owners?

We provide armed and unarmed security teams from all areas around the Indian Ocean. We also provide Anti Piracy training to the ship’s crew before they reach the Indian Ocean eg Singapore, Gibraltar.

In which areas around the world are you able to provide protection?

We can provide Unarmed Guards in Most areas, But armed guards we provide in Most areas around the Indian Ocean. Philippines, And now we have been providing armed guards in the Gulf Of Guinea.

How does Ocean Protection Services operate in terms of avoiding fatalities?

We operate as most British security companies do, with strict Rules of use of force. We are not out there to kill the pirates we are out there to protect the Vessel, And this is why we carry out our own in house training to our teams that deploy with us.

Do you believe that ships with armed protection will be the answer to piracy?

This is the current answer yes, this is also the only successful answer

At the moment, which countries have permitted such use of armed protection on board vessels and which are bound to follow?

In the last 3 months we have seen most countries change their attitude to armed guards. Even the IMO is changing its attitude. With recent countries like Britain, Germany and Norway, all will follow by the end of the year I believe.

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

Recent Videos

Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide Online Daily Newspaper on Hellenic and International Shipping