Private maritime security companies should ideally be held to one internationally recognised standard, according to the European Commission.
At the Security Association for the Maritime Industry’s (SAMI’s) “ISO PAS 28007 Lessons Learned” seminar on board the HQS Wellington in London yesterday, speakers and delegates praised the industry’s progress marked by the success of the international standard and discussed its future.
Failing the optimal position of an international mandate on the standard at the IMO level, “A fallback position from the EC’s position is that it would still be desirable if a mandatory standard was set at the EU level” Robert Missen, head of unit A-4 Land and Maritime Security at the European Commission commented.
Missen explained that it is feasible that the EU could make the ISO standard mandatory for all EU-based security companies, and that all EU-flagged vessels must use a security company accredited to the standard.
“Why haven’t we done that already? The honest answer is that there is not sufficient willingness either from member states, or the maritime industry… for this common standard.”
Germany has already implemented its own accreditation standard for armed guards, which means UK-based companies will need to pass German scrutiny on top of the audits necessary for ISO PAS 28007 accreditation. The German rules include contentious points for some gathered aboard the Wellington, including mandating the carrying of sidearms, where many prefer the sole use of high velocity rifles for reasons of practicality and safety.
Many flag states already have their own particular rules on the use of armed guards that add to ISO PAS 28007 without interfering with it.
“We’re not saying that ISO28007 will take over all of that,” Robin Townsend, ISO/PAS28007 project leader at Lloyd’s Register stated. “But they [flag states] will be able to take out vast swathes of text and say ‘this will be covered by ISOPAS28007 requirements’. We then expect them to add on additional things such as what caliber of weapon they’ll allow, and other details that only local legislation can put into force.”
Addressing the matter of developing the standard to cover possible technical oversights, Giles Noakes, head of security at BIMCO said, “no document ever survives its first transcript, which is why they’re publicly available specifications. It gives an opportunity for those being audited, and those implementing and reviewing it to add and subtract as is necessary so you can actually learn lessons from it.”
“ISO PAS 28007 is one of the three pillars as far as I’m concerned, along with Guardcon, and the 100 series rules.” Peter Cook, ceo of SAMI stated. “Maritime security is very young, it’s very dynamic, it [ISO PAS 28007] has got to be something we can adapt and take forward, whether it’s talking about floating armouries, West Africa, South China Seas or whatever else arises.”