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10 Questions: CSO Alliance talks to MRQ

 
May 6th 2016
Welcome to CSO Alliance's 10 Questions, a series in which we interrogate a number of shipping and security industry leaders on the topics we believe most members are interested in and the ones directly affecting their work. If you have other questions you would like to see us ask, just let us know in the comments section. 

 

This week MRQ along with their experts at Sicyon Risk have taken your questions. They didn’t feel placed to answer questions 5 and 9, so you will see that these are left blank.

 


1.     What are the big risks for shipping in 2016?

 

I.         Poorly governed or ungoverned maritime spaces invite threats to maritime security.

II.        Geopolitical danger arising from Putin’s growing reliance on military action abroad — in the Ukraine and now in Syria — to maintain his popularity at home and distract from austerity implementation.

III.       China expanding its strategic reach. Asserting maritime claims in the East and South China Seas. Creating artificial islands and asserting sovereignty over their surrounding waters as well as building airfields and military installations.

IV.        Conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran destabilising the majority of the Gulf region an already fragile area.

V.          Cyberspace, may soon overshadow all other threats, as we still lack the ability to block such attacks or to identify the majority of their sources.

VI.         Maritime terrorism

VII.        Choke point disruption

VIII.       Migration being used to mask terror cell movement

 

2.     What security process efficiencies can you recommend or envisage between the Shipping and Port industry?

 

I.         Information sharing on an international platform which provides up to date daily security situation reports, not only of the port but also surrounding geopolitical areas allowing shipping companies to make informed decisions on whether it is safe to accept charters.

II.        International and National level governance to eliminate corruption and bribery.

III.       Set common goals with benchmarking to ensure safety and security both within port limits as well as at anchor, sadly this would require massive investment and is therefore unlikely to be implemented.

 

3.     Which regions most concern you from a security point of view?

 

I.         South China Sea (Chinese land expansion programme)

II.        Southeast Asia (Piracy / Armed robbery & terrorism)

III.       Gulf of Guinea (Piracy /Armed robbery & Corruption)

IV.        Gulf of Aden & Red Sea (Piracy & terrorism)

V.          Increasingly Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iran (State sanctioned instability)

VI.        Upper Bay of Bengal from Calcutta to Chittagong (Armed robbery & Piracy)

VII.       Sinai Peninsula (Terrorism)

 

For national shipping the Bay of Bengal and the East coast of northern South America

 

4.     How concerned are you over possible acts of maritime terrorism?

 

I.         It is not the concern of a possible act of terrorism as they are already taking place regularly in countries such as Libya, it is more a question of where and when and what the repercussions thereof might be to shipping and which sector might be most affected - Container line / Bulk / Tanker / Cabotage – by any individual act.

II.        Attacks on passenger ships likely.

 

5.     What’s the biggest challenge facing any CSO this year?

 

NA


 

6.     How happy are you with current security arrangements in the Indian Ocean?

 
 

I.         The transformation of the Somali government and economy will be crucial to ensure a long-term solution to piracy in this part of the world, however, in the meantime, solutions are required to bridge the gap. Such solutions need to be fiscally sensible and serve as effective deterrents, as well as be applicable in addressing the problem of piracy and maritime armed robbery.

II.        As naval presence is to be scaled back in 2016, shipping companies’ should be encouraged by international governments as well as flags or international shipping bodies to introduce precise crew response procedures as well as vessel security measures.

III.       Multinational efforts have increased significantly in relation to past years

IV.        Huge wild card exists by hegemonic aspirations of China (string of pearls strategy) in relation to Indian and US counterbalancing efforts

 

 

7.     Which ports do you see as being problem areas for CSOs?

 

 I.         Al-Mukhala

 II.        Sirte

 III.       Aden

 IV.        Benghazi

 

The list is endless from a security experts point of view. We have kept to a short list of the highest concern.

 

 

8.     Some CSOs believe that because they don’t transit a High Risk Area, their vessel is safe. What’s your view?

 

I.         As there are only 2 officially recognised /designated High Risk Areas, it would be wrong to suggest that outside of these areas one is safe. There are so many areas of concern at present which should be of concern CSOs, SE Asia, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, all choke points to name but a few.

II.        There will never be 100% security but being sensitized to risks and being aware of geopolitical instability ashore will ensure that vessel crews are made aware in a timely manner being able to increase vigilance and take necessary steps and precautions to minimise any perceived security threat.

III.       Maritime terrorist attack/hijack will likely occur in “secure” port/tourist resort in the near future.

 

9.     How can shipping make life easier for CSOs?

 

NA

 

10.   What’s the best piece of advice you could give a CSO?

 
 

I.         Use OCTOPUS / MRQ & Sicyon

II.        Generating security is subject to human subjectivity, consider your job as a state of permanent transformation dictated by the necessities of developments in the field of international security 

III.       It implies a trinity process of situational awareness, monitoring and preventive measures