MAST warns that ships are still at risk in Indian Ocean
Maritime Asset Security & Training (MAST) has warned that ships in the Indian Ocean are still at risk.
The Indian Ocean still faces challenges such as a lack of intelligence information sharing between countries involved in counter-piracy operations in the region, the security company said.
MAST COO Gerry Northwood OBE said: "Whilst recent reports and incidents seem to be pointing to the Far East as the next piracy hotspot, the real security risk to shipping remains within the Indian Ocean, which is being 'under-hyped' by some commentators.
"It is clear that the level of maritime crime in the Far East is high, however in most cases it is simply petty theft and should be deterred if passive protection measures such as best management practices 4 (BMP4) are in place."
On the other hand, defeating these issues will help increase the situational awareness and understanding of the region. This would improve the abilities of navies worldwide in conducting anti-piracy operations, it stated.
In addition, MAST stated that Somalia remains a politically fragmented country and that circumstances in the region still enable pirate activities to flourish.
"Armed security teams, BMP4 and military patrols have been, and still are, an effective deterrent in the region, protecting vessels from attack by Somali pirates," Northwood added.
"However, the recent Al Shabaab bomb attacks in Mogadishu highlight the fragility of the security situation in the Indian Ocean."
In January this year, MAST said that the coastguards in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia require training and mentoring to help coastal nations combat piracy in their territorial waters and economic zones.
Image: A report revealed that piracy at sea has dropped to its lowest level in eight years. Photo: courtesy of EU.