Some 90% of the world's trade is carried by sea. In 2013, 12 vessels were hijacked, 202 were boarded, 22 were fired on and a further 28 reported attempted attacks (source: International Maritime Bureau).
The growing scourge of piracy
Modern pirates are targeting commercial freighters, fishing vessels and private yachts alike. Piracy is a real and present danger in the world's major shipping lanes, and violent attacks by pirates put the lives of yachtsmen and merchant seamen at risk. The objective is to seize the ship, steal all or part of its cargo and, in many cases, hold the ship and its crew for ransom.
An evolving threat
Piracy takes different forms in different parts of the world. In some regions, pirates are linked to political ideologies or separatist groups. In others, they are part of broader organised crime syndicates or terror organisations.
Piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean, from the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf of Aden in the north to Tanzania in the south, has been widely covered in the media, with numerous reports of attacks on oil tankers, yachts and other vessels. While the number of incidents seems to have fallen, pirate groups continue to operate in these areas. At the same time, piracy is a growing threat in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly off the Nigerian coast, with 31 reported incidents in 2013, compared with 27 in 2012 and 10 in 2011. Pirates in this region are noted for their violent tactics and are beginning to operate at greater distances from the shore. Piracy is also a significant risk in the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea.
At Euronaval 2014, Thales is unveiling PASTOR, a unique counter-piracy service solution for shipping companies and all types of vessels operating in high-risk parts of the world.
PASTOR is designed around a set of proven products and systems to protect vessels, cargoes and crews quickly and effectively during the day and at night.
It is available as a turnkey solution comprising:
A small onboard security team
Detection, identification and other electronic systems
A powerful searchlight to deter attacks
The service solution includes on-demand provision and installation of protection kits in line with operational requirements.
PASTOR uses an automated system of digital radio messages to enable vessels in the same navigational area to identify each other. PASTOR can also record shipboard data and share maritime security information with other users in the vicinity.
PASTOR is a cost-effective way of keeping vessels and crews safe and secure. It combines early warning, protection and deterrence systems and can be quickly tailored to new risks and threats as they emerge.