PMSCs forced to adapt

Falling demand sees a cut-throat market.

Maritime guns for hire adapt to changes in sea piracy

(Reuters) – Cash-strapped maritime security firms are being forced to use fewer costly elite guards and to diversify into other businesses such as cyber security, as a steep decline in Somali pirate attacks and hotter competition erode fast-thinning margins.

Hundreds of security firms sprang up over the past seven years to offer protection to shipping companies, with scores of merchant vessels being boarded and sailors taken hostage in pirate raids off the coast of conflict-torn Somalia.

However, attacks in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean have dropped from a peak of 237 in 2011 to just 10 in the first nine months of this year, the lowest since the piracy scourge began in 2008, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

The fall has been helped by using armed guards, deploying naval forces and defending ships with barbed wire or fire hoses.

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