If you usually ship valuable cargo, you are an attractive target for pirates. While you can always buy hull and machinery insurance and other types of insurance products, it pays to protect yourself first. For instance, preparing well before entering piracy-prone areas ensures that you are not gotten unawares. Understand that an attack from within can curtail your efforts to fight back. This makes it important to search a ship before leaving the port to flush out intruders. How can you stay safe as your ship enters areas prone to piracy?
Knowing that an area is high-risk is not enough. You ought to familiarise yourself with the latest happenings in the area in question. The good news is that such info is readily available on leading maritime websites. Knowing what to expect helps you prepare well for any eventualities. If the pirates in the area that you will be entering use guns, you should know the type of guns they usually use. This ensures that you prepare the appropriate physical defences.
Secure the Vessel and the Bridge
Physical barriers work well regarding preventing pirates from boarding a vessel. Barbed wire fencing can hinder pirates, especially if the fences hang overboard. This makes it difficult for pirates to hook their ladders. Electric fences can also work. But you should not use them if you are carrying flammable products. Since pirates usually focus on the bridge, securing it makes everything harder for them. Protecting the sides and the back of your bridge with two layers of chain link fencing helps protect the bridge against pirates.
Prepare to Keep the Vessel on High Speed
Pirates usually attack using small crafts. The crafts usually have support from bigger vessels, which makes it difficult to ward them off once they start attacking. Since most pirates restrict their attacks to moderate sea states, you can always outrun them. When a vessel speeds up, pirates find it difficult to board it. It is advisable not to wait until you spot a pirate craft to speed up.
Most pirates use the element of surprise to get the upper hand in an attack. If you increase lookouts, you will see the attackers in time, which gives you enough time to prepare to suppress their attack. It is advisable to increase the number of lookouts and furnish them with the right equipment. Powerful binoculars, for instance, can help lookouts spot suspicious activity over a long distance. Since pirates can still attack at night, you should invest in proper night ocular devices.
Prepare for Restricted Visibility
When visibility is poor, attackers are likely to use it to their advantage. It is important to let only your best navigating officer handle the vessel in such a situation. Ensuring that navigation equipment is in perfect working order is important. Consider increasing manpower on the bridge to ensure that the ship stays on course and that pirates do not access it easily.
Your crew plays an important role in keeping the ship safe in case of an attack. If your crew is familiar with what to do and how to do it, keeping pirates at bay will be easier. It is always important to brief the crew and carry out a drill before entering piracy-prone areas.