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Maritime Security Services


Security & Risk Consulting Services to the Maritime Industry

Introduction

Since 1977, UNITEL has been providing security and risk consulting services to private industry. Since 9/11, emphasis has shifted dramatically to securing the maritime industry, particularly merchant vessels and maritime ports worldwide. In the wake of the terrorist events on 9/11/01, the IMO (International Maritime Organization of the UN) opened the 22nd Assembly of the IMO in November 2001 in which the Assembly agreed to convene a special Conference in December 2001 on Maritime Security and to adopt new regulations to enhance ship and port security and avert shipping from becoming a target of international terrorism. Out of that Conference came changes to the SOLAS Convention (The International Convention for the safety of life at sea) and the adoption of the ISPS Code (International Ship and Port Facility Security Code) on December 13, 2002.

This Code aims to establish an international framework for co-operation between Contracting Governments, Government Agencies, local administrations and the shipping and port industries to detect security threats and take preventive measures against security incidents affecting ship or port facilities used in international trade and to establish relevant roles and responsibilities at the national and international level.

 
UNITEL's Maritime Security specialists provide security consulting services for clients concerned with security and safety of port facilities, oil storage areas, LNG off-loading facilities and floating platforms for off-shore applications, cargo and container facilities and other related concerns.

UNITEL performs audit and security evaluations for clients needing appraisal studies of security and safety considerations in a particular port anywhere in the world.
These audit studies provide client's management with needed information to assist operational planning, investment needs or negotiating points with municipal or governmental port operators.

To provide shipping companies and other maritime ventures protection against acts of "Piracy" on the high seas, UNITEL has recently formed a Security-At-Sea™ (SAS) Division. According to the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Center (www.iccwbo.org/ccs/menu_imb_piracy.asp) In 2008-09, pirate attacks were recorded through the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpar. The report states that the pirates preying on shipping were more violent than ever. "A total of 30 crew members were murdered during the attacks. Indonesian waters continue to be the scene of the highest number of attacks with 93 incidents reported in 2004. The report said the hijackings of tugs and barges and kidnapping of crew members were on the rise, especially in the Northern Malacca Straits and off North Sumatra by crime syndicates using fishing boats for such attacks." More than two-thirds of these attacks occurred in Asian waters, outside the laws of any particular coastal state. While the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) has called on many Asian nations to ratify the UN "Rome Convention" (Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation), not all countries have signed on.

In 2008, violent piracy and robbery attacks continue to climb – for updated details and maps go to IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (www.icc-ccs.org/prc/piracyreport.php).   Offshore Africa, particularly Nigeria and Tanzania, IMB reports over 62 incidents have occurred since May 2006.  On June 19, 2008, militant extremists from the Niger Delta region carried out violent attacks for the first time against a major off-shore oil field platform (Shell Bonga Field) forcing the oil producer to shut down operations and in the attack one American oil worker was kidnapped.  According to press articles, the field accounts for 10% of Nigeria’s daily output of 2 million barrels a day.  The effects have caused wide-spread disruption of world oil prices.

Piracy continues unabated and shipping traffic remains completely vulnerable in certain sea-lanes located in international waters. Some countries, like the United States, have very strong laws against Piracy at Sea. Section 1651, Title 18 of the federal criminal laws provides that: "Whoever on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life."


However, many countries have failed to enact protective laws, leaving the crews and vessel owners at great risk.

While on the high seas, a vessel and its crew generally travel completely unprotected and must use evasive measures, like increasing the number of miles off the shore of countries like Somalia, vastly increasing the costs of the voyage and impacting on the ultimate costs of the cargo price. On one Chinese vessel alone, 23 crewmembers were murdered by a pirate crew. These heavily armed pirates operate openly by approaching the vessels, day or night, using hi-speed skiffs, clambering aboard and seizing the vessel and crew. Their goal is to hijack the vessel and its cargo, selling both in various Asian ports – the crews are left to fate and either murdered or set adrift.

To protect and provide assistance to ship owners, UNITEL provides contract services to ship owners, providing teams of experts to be on-board for the duration of the voyage.

The ship owner has a duty and responsibility to safeguard the crew and its vessel and to do less would be a dereliction of its duty. By having a UNITEL SAS protection team on-board throughout the voyage ensures that the shipowner has fulfilled its duty to provide safety to the crew. Skilled on-board teams provide a professional wall of protection that will be noticed or learned of by the pirates, who emboldened by their recent successes and willingness to take great risks for money, use sophisticated sources of intelligence as to which ships are most vulnerable and their routes and cargo carried.

The Oil Industry - Offshore Oil Fields

Oil fields and drilling platforms have become hi-risk targets to criminal gangs and militants bent on finding soft targets to attack.  In one recent attack on the Bonga Oil Field off Lagos, Nigeria, armed militants from the Niger Delta region attacked the platform forcing Shell Oil to suspend operations while damages are assessed according to news reports.  The militants attacked using fast speedboats and in the escape, seized a crew supply boat capturing one American oil worker.  That field alone accounts for 10% of Nigeria’s daily output of 2m barrels a day.


Whether operating as fixed seabed pipeline facilities pumping oil to shore facilities or, FPSO’s (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) facilities, both require extreme security measures to guard against criminal attacks carried out frequently by small fast boats carrying armed militants. 


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