Why size matters: Piracy and PCASP teams

Over the course of the last two to three years the use of privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP) in the High Risk Area in the Northwest Indian Ocean has become still more widespread.

The use of PCASP adds yet another cost to the ship owner’s bill and any responsible ship owner would be expected to challenge the necessity of such a cost and minimise it where possible. The primary cost driver for PCASP teams is the personnel: the more personnel, the higher the cost. So one way of minimising the cost of PCASP teams is to keep the size of the team to an absolute minimum. When doing that, the key question becomes “How do I determine the minimum size of the PCASP team?”

In dialogue with members, the BIMCO Secretariat has learned that Private Maritime Security Companies now offer ship owners two-man teams for protection of ships, claiming that such small teams are sufficient to satisfy the need for protection. This is an extremely worrying development which deserves further scrutiny, hence this little article.


The PCASP is a creature of nature and is certainly not a Superman. A PCASP needs to rest, to go to the toilet, he cannot see through objects such as ships, he can only be a one place at a time and bullets will not rebound from him when he is hit by a gunshot…

Click here to continue reading.

Article courtesy of BIMCO.

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