Amid tensions shipping companies hire unarmed security guards for ships operating through Middle East Gulf, as a security measure for the ship’s and crew’s safety. In light of increasing tensions, shipping associations propose that shipping companies had better avoid using private security personnel in critical areas, including Strait of Hormuz.
As Reuters reports, there is tension between Iran and the West, after the UK seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar. In the meantime, Britain confirmed that one of its warships had to fend off Iranian vessels seeking to block a UK-owned tanker from passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
In light of the above, some shipping companies opt for experienced security firms with the role of providing guidance to captains monitoring a vessel above the waterline where explosives such as limpet mines may be placed.
Also, Gavin Lock, Operation’s Director in British maritime security company Ambrey, quoted to Reuters that the company usually has 600 guards on ships sailing through the Red Sea and Indian Ocean who in the first place were armed. Yet, he continued that in the past three weeks, the company has deployed additional 80 to 120 unarmed advisers for the ships sailing through the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
Mr Lock commented
It’s an assurance for the master as not all of the crews are tested as our MSOs (maritime security operators) have been in real-time operational situations.
Meanwhile, Security Company MAST also provides unarmed teams for those sailing to the Gulf, said company’s chairman, Gerry Northwood.
It’s important that vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz identify potential Iranian craft early and report sightings to the authorities and make it clear to approaching craft that they have seen them.
The attacks that took place against tanker vessels in the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman, has the US blaming Iran, a charge Tehran denies.
Many from security companies support that unarmed forces also provide a psychological comfort to the seafarers, as the former could carry out additional functions for the efficient operation of the vessel.