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While there are positive signs that the Somali piracy model may have been

broken, there is still much to be done – on land

as well as at sea Gavin Simmonds, Head of Security and Commercial

nnual figures for reported acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia indicate a dramatic downward and improving trend, but while pirate

action groups remain active, what now lies ahead? European Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR) data shows that the number of pirate attacks and vessels hijacked were both down by 80% in 2012, and are now at a five-year low.1 It is now widely recognised that this

reduction is the result of: l the actions of EU NAVFOR, NATO and other naval missions

l industry use of best management practices (BMPs)

l the presence of privately contracted armed security personnel on board many ships in the region

l improved governance and political stability ashore in Somalia, and other regional efforts. The success of the ongoing European Security and Defence Policy EU NAVFOR – Operation Atalanta mission has been notable, assisted by many other naval missions in the Indian Ocean. The shipping industry recognises the immense contribution made by many governments and other organisations in the past year, which together have produced an international maritime counter-piracy coalition unique in terms of its effectiveness and the number of navies involved.



Self-protection measures Shipping in this piracy high-risk area has continued to improve its own security by implementing the latest industry- developed guidance and recommendations in the fourth version of Best Management Practices for Protection Against Somalia Based Piracy (BMP4). Continued observance of BMP self-protection measures will be vital to ensure ships can repel a boarding attempt, should a pirate attack take place. The UK Government, the UK Chamber and

the International Chamber of Shipping have all played a leading role in the development of an international standard for armed private security on board ships, now published as ISO/PAS 28007:2012. To date, no ship carrying armed security personnel has been hijacked, and the deterrent effect of armed guards is known to have been effective. However, data on incidents involving the use of firearms and the ‘use of force’ by armed guards is scarce, and the role private maritime security companies perform is under close legal scrutiny. The carriage of armed security on merchant ships remains the most contentious of recent counter-piracy solutions.

Normality Part of the comprehensive solution for the industry is the need to identify the steps and timescales by which shipping can return to normal operations in the Indian

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