March 14, 2014
Call for Unified Standards for Maritime Security
Shipping companies increase reputational risk by ignoring international standards for private maritime security; Compliance and high professional standards should be championed
The shipping industry should adopt a unified international standard to judge and regulate security services provided by private contractors, says leading maritime security company GoAGT.
Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of GoAGT [pictured], which has recently joined the ranks of a select group of ISO/PAS 28007 certified companies, said: “Private maritime security companies (PMSCs) are an important part of the supply chain, protecting seafarers globally in high risk areas. Where substandard operators have been caught out cutting corners and have found themselves in hot water with local and national authorities, it has placed everyone in the industry at risk.”
“It is extremely important that the shipping industry demands that internationally recognized standards such as ISO/PAS 28007 are implemented to ensure PMSCs are capable of delivering a professional service.”
He added: “The problem is that most ship-owners and managers still have little idea of what ISO/PAS 28007 is. While it is quite right that price is an important factor in selecting a PMSC, this needs to be complemented with a focus on quality of service. The assets being protected are worth millions of dollars and seafarers’ lives are potentially at risk. The reputational hit should it go wrong could be enormous and an over focus on price is the wrong way to be heading when there are lives at stake”.
Maritime security companies worldwide operate in an increasingly complex and regulated arena. For this reason, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) sought the creation of unified security management standards that would improve supply chain compliance among the rapidly growing PMSC sector. ISO/PAS 28007 provides this framework for PMSCs to apply the correct process to recruit and train armed security teams, equip them appropriately, ensure supplier performance and to correctly apply the Rules of the Use of Force.
David Derrick, UK Business Center Manager at certification body Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA), commented: “The publication of ISO/PAS 28007 now allows PMSCs to demonstrate compliance with a set of rigorous requirements, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate to ship owners and managers their commitment to customer service, quality, safety and risk management processes.”
GoAGT achieved the ISO/PAS 28007 certification on 7th March after finishing the second stage of the audit carried out LRQA. The company is one of only a select few PMSCs that have achieved this certification, in a security sector of over 100 companies.
Commenting on GoAGT’s certification, David Derrick said: “We are delighted to certify GoAGT which has clearly shown itself able to deal with the complex and detailed requirements of ISO/PAS 28007 and we look forward to working with them on the ongoing assessment program.”