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Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS) has responded to Advanfort International's claims that Sri Lankan coastal waters and anchorages are unsafe, labelling the information "totally false and malicious" and "intended to mislead the maritime community."

Two piracy incidents off of the Somali coast have reinforced the need for vigilance and preparation in the area.

Piracy is at its lowest level in seven years according watchdog the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), but it continues to warn of the threat in both East and West Africa.

Sierra-Leone-flagged Seaman Guard Ohio, operated by Virginia Private Maritime Security firm Advanfort, is under investigation by Indian Police after it was allegedly found in Indian waters with 30 unauthorised firearms on board.

The risk of piracy has “not gone away” according to chairman of Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) Peter Swift, at a conference hosted by the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI).

Although an intuitive understanding of the human costs of piracy always exists, the case of the Pakistani ship’s master kidnapped in the Indian Ocean in 2010, en route from Dubai to Mombasa, struck a chord with attendees of Dubai Counterpiracy 2013 conference. Captain Jawaid S. Khan, master of the Albedo, was released from 19 months’ captivity just over a year ago, along with six Pakistani crew members, after his family’s unrelenting campaign to secure his freedom.

The participants at the UAE counter piracy conference warned the decline in Somali piracy was “fragile and reversible”.

The UAE is switching its attention in the fight against Somali piracy to rehabilitating the troubled East African nation’s hinterland in the wake of international navies’ recent successes in quelling Indian Ocean brigandry.

Despite being on the front line for a sharp decline in successful hijackings in the Gulf of Aden, the use of armed guards has divided the opinions of the maritime industry, governments, and the UN.

Pirate-controlled Naham 3, a fishing vessel thought to contain hostages from the sunken Albedo, has been moored at a Somali Beach in the Galmudug region.

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