On Thursday 25 April 2019 Lt Cdr Chris Long RN welcomed all attendees to the 28th MIEVOM.
The Maritime Information Exchange Vessel Operators’ Meeting (MIEVOM) was held at the Dubai International Seafarers’ Centre (DISC).
ASKET were pleased to be asked to present; Lessons learned from an armed attack in the HRA,
Simon introduced himself and gave an overview of his company which offers a free service to the shipping industry by providing support and open source material for all, including price comparisons for HRA and West Africa transits and compliance checks on ASTs.
Drawing on personal experience, Simon mentioned his concerns that the shipping and security industry did not really learn from incidents or events because they did not conduct or share lessons learnt.
Describing a pirate attack scenario, he emphasised that pirates were determined and unpredictable and that due to the speed that an incident develops mistakes can be made in the heat of the moment.
He continued to highlight problems that can occur with ASTs. Language barriers and/ or personality clashes within the team or with the master and crew members could cause communication issues on the bridge leading to the master not being fully aware of the dynamic response of the AST.
The requirement for unplanned drills to be carried out, with or without an embarked AST, was essential to train the crew how to react in real time.
Simon went onto give details of a personal voyage he undertook between the Arabian Gulf and USA, when the vessel was attacked. He described the preparation conducted before beginning transit, the reported the initial sighting of a single skiff approx. 3-4 nm from the vessel during transit and the immediate action of the AST, Master and crew.
He described the continued evasive actions taken by the vessel and AST and stated that the skiff continued to approach at speed. At 250m from the vessel the skiff with 6 POB began to drift however, after a few seconds the pirates opened fire which was returned by AST. Initially the AST fired over the heads of the pirates and at the engines of the skiff, when they began to fire inside the skiff it ended the attack. The pirates were successfully intercepted by CTF 151, 12 pirates arrested and the 2 boats used in the attack destroyed.
On conclusion of the attack it was discovered that the crew had not actually gone to the citadel but had mustered inside the accommodation because they thought it was a drill, and that the warning system only operated inside the vessel which meant anyone working outside would not have been aware of the situation.
Using the experience of that attack Simon emphasised the importance of conducting ‘lessons learnt’ from events highlighting the use of bridge cards to show exactly what to do. He stressed that command and control processes need to be tested along with with all communication links. Training and practice were key.
In closing, Simon emphasised the need to share information and incidents so that everyone can learn from others experiences and be better prepared.
The briefing notes and more free resources can be found here: https://www.asket.co.uk/asket-maritime-resources
To view the full Record of Discussion and the presentations delivered at the meeting go to the UKMTO.Org website