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On board a client vessel recently in West Africa, a local military security team were unloading their weapons when there was a “BANG”. Termed a negligent discharge, it goes without saying that inadvertently firing a weapon carries huge risk to both life and property.
If you were on the Bridge and heard a firearm inadvertently discharge on board, would you know what to do?
Security solutions in West Africa are fraught with such challenges. The Indian Ocean model of authenticated PMSCs, of well trained and well equipped guards cannot be applied to West Africa so clients have no choice but to hire local military teams within territorial waters. The identity, level of competency or even state of firearms of these forces cannot be determined in advance. Once the team arrives, what you see is what you get.
Do your ships crews have the necessary qualifications and experience to know what should be expected of such individuals? Have they experience in dealing with military forces in West Africa? Would they know what to look for or be able to rectify any shortcomings or act in the event of a firearms incident?
This is why Dryad strongly recommends that representatives from the PMSC are embarked in order to provide the necessary oversight of embarked military forces and to provide professional advice to Masters. These Maritime Security Liaison Officers (MSLOs) are a vital link between the military force and the ship. The MSLO, a qualified and experienced operator, will help ensure that the embarking force is fit for purpose and will also monitor their working practices throughout their time on board.
Dryad most strongly recommends that two MSLOs are the absolute minimum to ensure adequate 24/7 oversight of the embarked military force, they are an essential aid to the safety and security of your vessel.