The Merchant Maritime Warfare Centre (MMWC), a UK based, non-profit counter-piracy organisation, is to offer its ship support service free to ships in need.
This is the first time such an extensive counter-piracy consultation service has been available without cost to vessels and operators, and marks the beginning of MMWC’s plan to provide structured best practice across the maritime industry in the escalating fight against piracy.
The Ship Support Service was developed as a key part of MMWC. At its core is 24/7 advice to Masters, managers and owners, when transiting piracy hotspots such as the Gulf of Aden, Malacca Straits and the Nigerian coast. It is provided by MMWC’s staff of seasoned maritime security specialists who have conducted many transits themselves and are able to provide expert advice, support and intelligence to ensure that vessel and crew are prepared to the highest degree.
“Our aim in launching the MMWC is to ensure that all merchant vessels, regardless of ownership or flag state can be fully prepared against pirates,” said Nick Davis, Director, MMWC.
“While we are offering the Ship Support Service without charge, to sustain an industry-wide, structured effort against piracy, support from industry bodies, flag states, insurance companies, owners and operators and even the military will ensure the long-term benefits of such a scheme. We are providing the platform from which the entire maritime industry can work together, and in the long term, this will help us to win the fight against piracy.”
The Ship Support Service has been developed to ensure that all eventualities of a dangerous transit are prepared for in advance and as more vessels utilise it, MMWC hopes that a structured competence will filter through the industry so that more and more Masters, crew and land based management teams have a detailed understanding of preparing and acting against piracy. The free of charge service covers the following areas:
• Pre transit advice – Support and communication for bridge team for effective counter measures, crew responsibilities, watch-keeping and preparations
• Risk assessments – The MMWC risk assessment can be used for internal compliance as well as insurance requirements
• Military convoy opportunities – MMWC is aware of all Naval Escort opportunities and will always communicate these in advance
• Latest intelligence – Intelligence from multiple sources including donor vessels who supply early warning of small craft in the area is provided regularly
• Latest weather risks – Accurate wind and wave data and MMWC’s small boat expertise enable accurate intelligence based on prevailing conditions
• Emergency check list – Including flow diagrams and radar/visual procedures recognised as essential elements in evading piracy or armed robbery attacks
• Counter measures advice – Includes advice on using the most common materials found onboard or in port without the need for unnecessary expense
• Another important aspect of the Ship Support Service is that of defining responsibilities and procedures onboard. Masters, First Officers, Chief Engineers, Second Officers and Ship Security Officers all have dedicated roles to play from the port of last departure to the transit itself.
• MMWC provides full standard operating procedures that are structured to supply an essential element to the ship’s security plan and a successful, safe voyage.
“The Ship Support Service offers a broad range of advice and consultancy and is a positive step to ensure the delivery of counter-piracy best practice knowledge, without discrimination, to the maritime industry,” said Mr Davis.
“MMWC also provides in-depth training using sophisticated full mission navigation simulators running our own piracy scenarios and a range of extended support and consultancy services. This is in addition to physical materials such as the MMWC anti-piracy handbook and preventative banners.”