Private security personnel are “here to stay” in the fight against increasing levels of crime at sea, according to industry representative Peter Cook.
Speaking at the Maritime Security & Defence conference at SMM in Hamburg on Wednesday, Cook said criminals were increasingly proactive, ubiquitous and adaptable at a time of shrinking naval capabilities.
The CEO of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) also pointed to growing sea trade and the increase of flags of convenience as reasons for an increasing threat.
“We are all complicit in this. Without those [flags] the stuff we import would not be as cheap,” he added.
Cook said there had been 157 piracy incidents up to 31 August this year, with 10 ship hijackings in South-east Asia since April.
He added: “It is not just about armed guards though, but also the use of a holistic approach.”
This includes training, surveillance, intelligence and the development of technology to combat criminals.
Delegates appeared to agree with him, with 70% voting that armed guards are part of the solution to piracy and other marine ills.