Terror attack is not piracy attack. Dangerous misunderstanding of situation and required measures.
Attack on LNG tanker GALICIA SPIRIT is believed to be a terrorist attack, an alarm signaling a new threat on Red Sea – Gulf of Aden waterways. Industry media are already citing ASKET security broker, based in the UK, which is advising security measures to be taken, to fight off possible attacks.
Afraid there’s some underestimation or misunderstanding of present situation in ASKET analysis and recommended measures.
Piracy threat and terrorism threat are of absolutely different nature. While pirates’ hijack is a very serious problem with many unpleasant consequences, still, it doesn’t lead to a disaster or catastrophe. Piracy hijack is strictly business, pirates don’t hijack freighters to blow them up, they are after ransom, which can be obtained only on conditions of releasing the ship and the crew, more or less safe and sound.
Terror attack is aimed at destroying the ship, with desirable catastrophic consequences. That’s why they chose loaded LNG tanker GALACIA SPIRIT as their target. It was estimated years ago, that an instantaneous explosion of all liquefied gas on board of VLGC is equal in its’ force to an atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Terrorists are not interested in attacking dry cargo vessels, even loaded middle-sized tankers don’t suit their purpose of creating catastrophic disaster. They are interested in VLGC, VLCC, Suezmax and Aframax tankers, in full load, of course.
It means, that when we’re talking about defending vessels from possible terrorist attacks, or piracy attacks, we’re talking about completely opposite things. If we’re talking about terrorism, we know possible targets, their size and their condition. Terrorists target big gas and crude oil tankers in full load. BMP4 practices are, well, more or less useful, if talking about pirates.
But such practices just aren’t needed, when talking about terror threat. Terrorist are in for disaster, not for hijack. They must be prevented not just from boarding vessel, but even from approaching her. Any chance of approaching the ship, let alone boarding, must be excluded. Is it possible? Yes, it’s possible, and we all know how. Each such potential target should have either direct Navy escort, or armed security team on board. I’d say, armed security team on board of gas and crude oil tankers, transiting Red Sea – Gulf of Aden area, should be a MUST, in present situation.
Each such tanker should proceed through dangerous area with a no-approach zone around the vessel, of say, 100 meters diameter. Everything afloat trying to encroach into that zone, should be fired upon. That’s the only way to guarantee safe passage, and to exclude disasters with catastrophic consequences. The sooner we understand the necessity of guaranteed safety, the better.
But first, we have to understand and to accept completely different nature of terror and piracy attacks.
ASKET analysis http://www.asket.co.uk/single-post/2016/11/05/Terrorist-Attack-Against-Merchant-Ship---Yemen-Gulf-of-Aden---Retraction-of-Source-marsec is anything, but that.
November 5, 2016