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PMSC highlights migrant dangers in the Med, expands into new business area

PMSC highlights migrant dangers in the Med, expands into new business area
Private maritime security companies (PMSCs) are moving into protecting merchant vessels taking onboard refugees from the scores of desperate migrant vessels in the Mediterranean as a new business area.

PMSC ESC Global Security chief security officer Ivari Sarapuu warned that merchant ships should, “exercise caution when taking on refugees, given the overwhelming numbers involved and the political volatility in the countries from which these people have fled".

Sarapuu, who previously operated off the coast of Somalia, maintained that PMSCs on ships transiting the Mediterranean would be able to provide assistance in rescue scenarios, “able to monitor the boarding of the refugees, carry out any identification checks and ensure that their actions do not impact on ship operations".

“Ship safety and security must remain the number one priority,” said Sarapuu. “It will be difficult for a small crew onboard a ferry, tanker or bulk carrier to remain operationally effective if it has to provide humanitarian aid to hundreds of refugees.

“Qualified, properly trained and regularly tested security personnel are best placed to identify the likely number of vessels and people being encountered, contact the relevant authorities, provide medical assistance where required and maintain video and written records of the event, leaving the crew to continue operating the vessel safely.”

In addition, ESC ceo Jaanus Rahumägi warned of potential “crimes and acts of terrorism” from refugees and warned that “specially trained security is strongly recommended to identify possible weapons or other prohibited items and, if necessary, to apply measures to maintain the safety of all persons onboard.”

“The deployment of professional security guards on vessels is not limited to operations in known high risk areas. We suggest using security on vessels to avoid further escalation of potentially armed refugees carrying out crimes and acts of terrorism.”