Concerns have been raised over a worrying trend which has seen various government authorities criminalising maritime security operatives. These developments have been condemned in the strongest possible terms by the industry’s trade body, The Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI).
Across piracy afflicted areas, both in the Indian Ocean and off West Africa, there are increasing concerns that innocent maritime security operatives are being targeted, wrongly arrested and criminalised.
It is deplorable that such individuals are being made to suffer the indignity, uncertainty and distress of arrest and incarceration, especially as the maritime security industry has been at the forefront of efforts to protect seafarers and world trade from piracy.
SAMI CEO Peter Cook says, “We are deeply concerned and strongly condemn this creeping trend of criminalisation. Maritime security professionals should not be used as makeweights in political disputes, nor be seen as scapegoats in commercial quarrels. Whether they are former marines, soldiers or police – maritime security operatives are skilled and experienced professionals who should be afforded respect, credit and appreciation for the vital role they have played in tackling piracy.”
The maritime security industry has done all possible to become ever more transparent, accountable and to fit into the global shipping structure. Whether through the development of standards, such as ISO/PAS28007, Rules for the Use of Force or embracing standardised contracts, all this has been done with the goal of delivering excellent service for clients and the wider maritime industry.
Given this positive evolution it is deemed vital that all relevant parties are willing and able to work together to ensure that just as seafarers are protected, maritime security operatives must be afforded the same status, safeguards and recognition.
SAMI is working with relevant stakeholders to promote the need for maritime security operatives to be better protected and supported in the line of duty.
The Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI)
SAMI provides an international independent non-governmental organization for the maritime security industry and a focal point for global maritime security matters.
The SAMI membership is made up of international maritime security companies from over 35 different nations, as well as equipment, technology and hardware providers exploring technical maritime security solutions. www.seasecurity.org