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Icon representing Maritime Information Warfare Conference 2019 -London -November 18-19
Maritime Information Warfare Conference 2019 -London -November 18-19

November 18th 2019
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European Maritime Cyber Resilience Forum - London - October 31

October 31st 2019
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CYPnaval Conference - October 2nd - Cyprus

October 2nd 2019

CSOs are now sharing security innovations! 

November 7th 2014
A key ambition of CSO Alliance was to reach the moment when CSOs would share ideas and information that materially improved the security of ships and seafarers. 

We know that any experience that is worth sharing will have involved considerable time, and often investment, by the ship owner.

Our belief is that with the niche activity of CSOs we now have the private and secure platform to share this valuable information. 

Benny Low, who leads Group Security at Thome Ship Management in Singapore, has put together an excellent review of water-tight locking door arrangements to reduce the threat of pilferage. 

This has been based on feedback over several years from their fleet of over 200 ships trading world-wide. 


Why the study into pilferage and locked doors? 

A study of the incidents in just one anchorage shows that robberies are increasing. Robbers are often well drilled, carry the right equipment and know exactly how to breach standard door locking arrangements, which have not improved since the ship’s construction and delivery.

The image included shows the standard type of door lock, the 'eye pad' locked by padlock and the 'Special key' nut type lock. The robbers in many ports have been active for decades and so have the knowledge of where they want to go on the ship. Although they are lightly equipped (they do have to climb on board!) they have in many cases developed their own tools. It therefore required lateral thinking and a great deal of testing to develop a cost effective solution to the problem. 


The criminal successes came from one of the following nine categories:- 

1) Picking the padlock

2) Using a bolt-cutter to cut the padlock 

3) Creating a large shock force by hammering or chiselling a weak padlock 

4) Using a crow-bar to force open a weak padlock 

5) Mechanical sawing of the padlock

6) Drilling of the keyhole of the padlock

7) Cutting the padlock with a blowtorch

8) Cold cutting with a saw the eye-pad or breaking it with a crow-bar or hammer 

9) Removing the door hinges

We will not go into the detail here of the most common breach method, but the details are available in the CSO Security Innovation Group, under 'Discussion'. 

For Thome it was therefore a case of going back to basics and reviewing the watertight door locking arrangements to identify what it actually takes to breach the locks. 

After a great deal of brainstorming, followed by development, an economical way to protect the locks was developed. 

The protection had to be the right strength, not too wide to restrict access, not too tight that it is difficult to use and it had to be accessible to lock/unlock. If it was too difficult to use, it might be left unlocked by the ship’s crew.


Vital to use quality padlocks 

Constant exposure to sea spray and weather deteriorates standard padlocks which makes them more likely to fail when attacked. A great deal of research went into looking at weather resistant padlocks, but there were very few credible suppliers. With the right padlock you ensure a long lifespan and, of course, reduce the risk of pilferage. 


CSO Security Innovation Award

Thome Ship Management have provided a very detailed study with text, photographs and video. This report was designed to help fellow CSOs fast track this issue straight to a credible solution and is available to members here.

This has inspired us to create a security innovation award which we will run for twelve months and announce a winner in December 2015.

We sincerely thank Thome Ship Management for sharing their research with all of us.