Philippine Coast Guard Tells Vessels To Ignore The Chinese Militia
by Karen Lema (Reuters) – The Philippines has rejected an annual summer fishing ban imposed by China in the disputed South China Sea and encouraged its boats to keep fishing...
The discovery of two dead American security contractors in a cabin onboard the U.S.-flagged containership Maersk Alabama has left the entire maritime industry wondering what exactly happened.
The two men, who were part of a privately-contracted security team providing counter-piracy protection services onboard the vessel, were found while the ship was docked at Port Victoria, Seychelles, but no information concerning the circumstances of their death has been released.
All relevant parties have said that there is no information into the cause of death and that an investigation is ongoing.
To put it simply, the deaths of the two men are nothing short of strange.
In the not-so-distant past, privately contracted armed guards on merchant vessels was almost unheard of. It wasn’t until the outbreak of Somali piracy from 2007 to 2012 that it became standard practice for vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and further out into the Indian Ocean to have armed guards onboard.
While attacks off Somalia have steeply declined over the last two years -a decline which can be attributed to use of armed guards- the threat of piracy persists and ship operators are encouraged to not drop their guard.
The regulatory regime and the rules of engagement by armed guards at sea has been a significant hurdle for Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) and the shipping industry to overcome, one that still presents a significant challenge as two Italians and the crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio face serious legal trouble in India.
But in the case of Maersk Alabama deaths, many unanswered questions remain. What happened? Were the deaths a completely isolated and random incident? Or are they an indication of an issue of greater concern?
Only the autopsy results can give us a a clearer picture. But until then, here’s what we know:
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