Security is a consideration on any superyacht, but when travelling through high risk areas such as Somalia, the Gulf of Aden or the Indian Ocean, how should vessels asses the relative costs of additional security versus the cost of not obtaining additional security?

“Ahead of embarking on a journey through a high risk area, appropriate planning and research must be undertaken to ensure all eventualities are prepared for,” starts Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of Maritime Asset Security & Training (MAST). “Once at sea, the vessel should report it tracking information and characteristics to international and regional authorities – as appropriate for the area.”

Northwood advises that Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (BMP4) provides good guidance on a broad range of passive measures and should be followed as closely as possible. In the vast majority of cases, appropriate preparation and well contemplated passive measures, when considered in line with the superior performance of superyachts, should be enough to avoid incident.

However, as Northwood correctly points out: “Hulls and cargoes can be replaced – crews’ lives cannot”. For the cautious owner, who wishes to pay for additional security, the cost is almost nominal when compared to other on board expenditures. “In the Indian Ocean an armed guarding team with a UK team leader will cost something in the order of $15,000 for 10 days. This pales into insignificance if compared to the average ransom off Somalia of $3 million.”

As well as paling in comparison to the cost of the average Somalian ransom, $1500 a day pales into insignificance when compared to the cost of food, alcohol, fuel, berthing and any number of the other typical on board costs, let alone the true cost of the hull, items on board and human lives.

There are also insurance implications to consider. “Budgets will be driven by insurance or by third parties such as the charterer or ship’s manager,” continues Northwood. In issue 174 of The Superyacht Report Lulu Trask, editor of The Crew Report, explores how insurance premiums are affected by high risk areas and how superyachts can set about mitigating additional costs where possible.

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MAST - Maritime Asset Security and Training Ltd

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