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Seminar To Focus On Practical Response To Piracy

by Robert Lee,, London

01 September 2009

The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) is to hold a seminar on practical responses and solutions to the growing threat of piracy and other offshore security issues in Portsmouth in the UK, between September 15-16.

“Countering the generic and ever-present threat of piracy is key to the marine industry, and this month’s conference highlights and discusses ways and means in which ship and offshore installation owners and operators can counter the generic and ever-present threat,” explained Dr Marcus Jones, Chief Executive of IMarEST.

The two-day event will investigate the solutions on offer, as well as examining what ship and platform operators can do to counter the threat and mitigate the risk to their vessels, crews and cargoes from piracy.

“Designed by marine professionals for the shipping and offshore industries around the globe, this highly practical IMarEST conference demonstrates our commitment to informing the maritime community,” he added.

According to the organizers, the first day will provide oversight of the threats posed by piracy, and will include an interactive workshop. The second day will look initially at the current government, military and international agency views, including a keynote address focusing on how operators can best equip themselves to maintain security, as well as practical solutions to counter the risk - covering services, infrastructure and methods of defending and hardening a vessel.

“Recent developments on board the Russian-crewed Arctic Sea demonstrated that piracy and hijacking at sea is not limited to the coasts of Africa and the Far East, but is a global issue – and underlines the fact that somewhere in the world a ship disappears about every two weeks. Ships need better protection,” Conference Chairman, Frank Mungo, Past IMarEST President added.

Some of those methods of protection will be on display, as the Piracy and Offshore Security Conference includes a small exhibition of devices and systems designed to counteract the ongoing threat of piracy.

Research from the International Chamber of Commerce released last month showed that piracy attacks around the world more than doubled to 240 from 114 during the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2008. The year’s second quarter saw 136 reports of piracy compared with 104 in the first three months of 2009, an increase of almost a third.

A total of 78 vessels were boarded worldwide, 75 vessels fired upon and 31 vessels hijacked with some 561 crew taken hostage, 19 injured, seven kidnapped, six killed and eight missing.

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