The Sri Lankan government has started to provide onboard maritime security to vessels in the Indian Ocean and training to Sea Marshals to prevent piracy.
The Government has created a Maritime Division in a fully state-owned security company to provide weapons and ammunition to private maritime security companies engaged in on board security duties, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.
Delivering the Keynote address at the fourth annual maritime security conference “Galle Dialogue 2013” in Galle Monday, the Defense Secretary enlightened the participants at the two-day conference on the security services Sri Lanka provides to combat the piracy in the region.
One of the key considerations is maintaining the Indian Ocean as a secure highway for international commerce, the Defense Secretary noted. Ensuring freedom of navigation, securing its choke points, and reducing piracy are important drivers behind the presence of extra-regional fleets in the Indian Ocean, he emphasized.
He said Sri Lanka, through a Public Private Partnership with a local private security company, has started to provide vessels with on board teams composed of former Navy personnel with considerable experience in combating attacks on sea.
Sri Lanka is also a major disembarkation point for security teams from other countries.
The Sri Lankan government provides logistical support for the movement of weapons and ammunition, including the provision of bonded warehouses for their storage.
More recently, Sri Lanka has begun operating strictly regulated and secure floating armories to fulfill this requirement, according to the Defense Secretary. Utmost precautions are taken to ensure complete accountability for the weapons and equipment provided, he assured.
In addition, Sri Lanka has recently begun providing training facilities for Sea Marshals.
Rajapaksa said this is especially important because the International Maritime Organization requires all Sea Marshals to be properly trained and certified.
He highlighted that with the provision of all these services, Sri Lanka is increasingly gaining recognition as an important contributor to the security of the Sea Lanes of Communication in the Indian Ocean.
The Sri Lankan government expects the demand for the maritime security services to continue until such time the counter-piracy action by international fleets and continued use of on-board private security combine deter piracy in this region.