As a seafarer in the maritime industry, you are exposed to more risks to certain workplace hazards. The sea, after all, can be quite a dangerous place, especially during inclement weather conditions. Another danger that seafarers can face is the threat of piracy, which is defined as the violent action committed on the seas or in the air outside of the normal jurisdiction of the state. While international naval forces have been doing their best to combat the threat of piracy, they can only do so much. Ultimately, private shipping companies should also look into securing their vessels. Here are things to consider when doing so.
Review your routes when traveling
One of the best ways to protect yourself from maritime piracy is by avoiding the routes in which pirates often travel to. You may check through various organizations that have valuable information for ships going through these areas, including real-time warnings of pirate activity. Of course, this may be costly and possibly just attract the attention of pirates (since they may attack more popular routes). But, nonetheless, this is still a good method to employ.
Be aware of how pirates attack
Another good way of counteracting pirate attacks is knowing how they do it so you can combat these methods accordingly. For instance, you can look into what type of ships they usually attack, what weapons they use, and how they plan their attacks. In the International Maritime Bureau 2014 Piracy, it was stated that oil tankers and bulk carriers were more likely to be attacked due to them being easy to board, slow, and the fact that they often carry valuable cargo. These pirates also use guns and knives, with some pirates being more armed depending on the area. Lastly, the bridge is the main focus of pirate attacks, so make sure you secure that in advance.
Employ protective methods
Whether it’s getting armed maritime security forces to escort you and your cargo, using high-powered water cannons to ward off intruders, or simply putting barbed wires and electrical fences, it’s important that you protect your crew and cargo as much as possible. It may be costly to get all of these extra protection but with the real and dangerous threat of piracy looming in the heads of many seafarers, it will be worth it. We aren’t just talking about the cargo, after all. We’re also talking about the human lives that may be endangered in the ship.
While it’s not necessary for seafarers to know how to fight off pirates, it’s still important that a seafarer knows the steps they need to take to ensure they are protected. Those who are undergoing maritime training in the Philippines should always keep this in mind, starting from their training until the moment they step on their assigned ship. The threat of piracy is very real and can be very deadly, if not addressed properly.