Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Profiteering from Piracy at Sea


Governments in areas bordering the area where pirates operate have been quick to latch onto the fast buck syndrome

Yet another money making scheme has been announced by a government keen to exploit the distress already caused by Pirates who prey on ships and yachts who are going about their lawful business in the waters off Aden and Somalia.

National custom and immigration services in countries from Egypt to Oman are already preventing the transit of safety and security equipment by personnel travelling through airports to provide protection services to vessels about to transit the pirate infested waters and now the Djibouti Government have implemented a new procedure where anti piracy security teams arriving at Djibouti are now required to register with a Company called Djibouti Maritime Security Services, a government appoint liaison service.

Under a new law passed by the Government earlier this year:

  • All private security firms, which have personnel transiting Djibouti for the purpose of providing security for merchant ships or Super yachts now need to have a special license. Fees are set at US$ 15,000 per month, US$ 80,000 for 6 months and US$ 150,000 for 1 year. This is a time based fee and does not specify the number of people or number of transits.
  • Weapons can only be hired from the Djibouti Armed Forces after paying a rental charge.
  • Where security persons are carrying weapons, these have to be stored with the Army at the payment of a storage charge. Djibouti Army person will then for an additional fee escort these teams outside Djiboutian territorial waters and hand over the weapons.
  • If a vessel enters Djiboutian waters, the Master has to declare if any arms on board, their names and quantity and these will be inspected on the vessel’s arrival, stored on the ship under armed guard and checked again prior departure. All services are provided at an extra charge.

Former Royal Navy Officer Paul Cook, now a Super yacht industry consultant with International Superyacht Management said, “The cynic in me sees this as another money generating initiative by a government not bent on guaranteeing that only credible security companies operate from their waters but are instead ensuring they maximise their profiteering from the Piratical trade.” He added, “I am even aware of security consultants having had their life jackets confiscated by over zealous officials anxious to make a quick buck or look after locally operated firms rather than assist visiting professional anti piracy security teams, these are safety and not security related items.

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