Armed Maritime Security Services
GRAY PAGE: LAWS, REGULATIONS, AND GUIDANCE APPLICABLE TO THE PROVISION OF ARMED MARITIME SECURITY SERVICES ALREADY EXIST
Latest data from the leading company providing independent vetting of armed maritime security providers suggests that a majority of companies are operating outside of existing regulations and conventions
LONDON: 7 FEBRUARY 2012: Gray Page, the specialist maritime intelligence, investigation and crisis management company, said today that laws, regulations and guidelines already exist against which armed maritime security providers (AMSPs) can be scrutinised.
The assessment criteria that Gray Page uses in its Armed Maritime Security Provider Vetting Programme incorporates, for example, extant British and EU legislation on the ownership, licensing and control of firearms and ammunition, the compliance requirements enshrined in conventions such as the International Code of Conduct (ICOC) for Private Security Service Providers, and guidance published the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Group of P&I Clubs and flag States including the UK Department for Transport.
James Wilkes, managing director, Gray Page, commented: “It is a misconception that there are currently no standards against which the legitimacy and competency of AMSPs operations can be measured. There is plethora of criterion that can reasonably be applied in vetting the activities of an AMSP. We support the call for maritime-specific regulation, but on-going industry deliberations in that respect do not obviate the regulations and laws that already exist with which AMSP should comply.
“Our vetting programme is exposing the fact that a significant majority of AMSPs are not demonstrably operating within existing legal and regulatory frameworks. Indeed, so far, few companies seem to have even a rudimentary understanding of the insurance and contractual issues that P&I Clubs, for example, have been highlighting. There are companies providing armed maritime security services safely, lawfully and professionally, but at present they are a notable minority. This should be a concern to shipowners.”
John Thompson, a Director at Ambrey Risk, commented: “As the number of companies in the armed maritime security market continues to grow, it is inevitable that there will be significant variances in the integrity of the services being offered.
At Ambrey we are keenly aware of our legal and regulatory obligations in providing armed guards and pride ourselves on raising standards in the maritime security industry. We have taken the time to deeply understand the environment in which we operate and we have a duty to our clients to do so. By virtue of helping shipowners with their background due diligence on prospective armed maritime security companies, Gray Page’s Armed Maritime Security Provider Vetting Programme is actually setting high bench-mark standards in our rapidly expanding industry. Ambrey welcome the Programme and the transparency it brings to the market.”
Mike Salthouse, Director of North of England P&I Association, which is a prominent supporter of Gray Page’s Armed Maritime Security Provider Vetting Programme, commented: “Gray Page vets armed maritime security providers on behalf of North and its Members and the results to date demonstrate that a number of companies are not meeting the generally accepted standards required of an armed maritime security provider.
While it is a concern that standards in the armed maritime security sector are not what they should be, our Members can be assured that the vetting programme will help them identify those companies that operate professionally, safely and, crucially, within the law.”
About the Gray Page Armed Maritime Security Provider Vetting Programme:
Gray Page’s Armed Maritime Security Provider Vetting Programme provides shipowners and operators with an expert and independent means of vetting prospective providers of armed maritime security services against professional, legal and ethics-based criteria encompassing corporate probity and substance, regulatory and legislative compliance, commercial experience, contractual integrity, operational and logistical capability, weapons licensing and accountability, and the selection, recruitment and training of security personnel.
About Gray Page:
Founded in 2003, Gray Page is a specialist maritime investigations, intelligence and crisis management company. Helping clients solve commercial and operational problems in difficult and sensitive circumstances, Gray Page provides a full range of risk-management services including investigative due diligence, claims and litigation support, crime investigation, counter-piracy expertise and crisis management.