BIMCO to work with shipowners and maritime security companies working in West Africa to develop a contract for engaging escort vessels
Shipowners with foreign armed security personnel have been facing challenges calling on ports, and some ports disallow local armed guards to board foreign commercial vessels. According to International Maritime Bureau (IMB), piracy incidents between Guinea and Angola reportedly account for 90 per cent of kidnappings in the world. A sharp hike 50 per cent in 2019 sparked the IMB’s appeal for international cooperation to address the piracy issues.
Protecting the shipowners’ interests
The private maritime security companies (PMSC) have developed security escort vessel services in partnership with local navies in compliance with district regulations, including having a PMSC liaison onboard. However, an absent contract for vessels operating in West Africa does not protect the interests of the shipowners, subjecting them to vulnerability while in international waters along the eastern Gulf of Guinea.
Collective appeals from BIMCO members have warranted the development of a standard security escort vessel (SEV) contract to align the terms and conditions of engaging escort vessels with the purpose of protecting ships operating within these dangerous waters.
Representatives of PMSCs and shipowners, protection and indemnity insurance and legal experts will be involved to assist in drawing up a standard SEV contract to protect all stakeholders’ interests. The project will commence between later of February and mid-March 2021. A full draft will be presented to the industry for public consultation and feedback.