Publicity for Somali piracy and increased demand for protection has had a number of private protection companies making a beeline for the maritime industry without doing their homework, some of them frankly frightening to anyone familiar with the industry. MAC, whose writing on piracy issues goes back to his Lloyds List days in the early 1990s, can say that Mike Murrell, ISSG chief operations officer, has done his homework because for several months he’s been picking MAC’s brains, and others, on the industry needs.
ISSG specialises in what it calls ‘less than lethal’ vessel defence, although armed teams can be deployed Mike doesn’t encourage it. Given the nature of the business, Mike doesn’t talk much publicly about the technology his teams use but he has discussed them with MAC and they certainly appear to be more formidable than some of the ‘non-lethal’ technologies proposed and a number of big names in the industry seem to agree.
Mike warns: “Shipping companies that are requesting armed security teams on their vessels should be careful, and aware of the legalities not only of having weapons on board, but how they are obtained.”