When operating in waters with heightened risk, vessel hardening is a vital part of the ships security defence. During an extreme security incident, such as a piracy attack, vessels must be able to lockdown and respond appropriately to aggressors. Thus, providing valuable time for the crew to lockdown safely and for outside support to be mobilised.
Providing assistance to a pirated vessel
In October 2020, as the closest security vessel within the vicinity, Castor Vali Nigeria is proud to have assisted a pirated vessel. The Nigerian Navy instructed Castor Vali to investigate a suspected pirated vessel after she triggered her SSAS and lost communications. On our arrival at location (0030LT), we found the vessel completely blacked out leading us to fear the worst for the crew’s safety. At first light the crew emerged from the citadel with their safety assured as a direct result of the vessel hardening defences in place. Once we established that the crew were safe, Castor Vali assisted with the coordination of their rescue/recovery into Lagos.
Castor Vali’s incident assessment
We assess that if the vessel had been under a security escort that the boarding would not have been successful. However, the situation would have been much worse if vessel hardening defences and prior vessel preparedness planning had not been in place. It is highly likely that the crew would have been kidnapped.
A well-hardened vessel and trained crew will deter and delay any assailant. Castor Vali has years of experience in hardening all types and classes of vessel. Therefore, our ability to liaise with vessels worldwide, ideally positions us to conduct detailed vessel hardening vulnerability assessments. Our assessments includes previous fabrications, reviewing the vessel specification and general arrangement prior to a physical visit.
We follow best management practices (BMP) as a guideline and utilise our significant industry experience to take a pragmatic approach to vessel hardening. When hardening vessels, Castor Vali take into consideration vessel arrangement, working nature, health and safety and the intended operating environment. In collaboration with the vessel management, master and crew; we deliver a detailed vessel vulnerability hardening report listing all recommendations and fabrication examples.
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In conclusion this experience further fortifies our true belief that all vessels operating or transiting through high-risk waters will benefit from our mature vessel hardening vulnerability assessment services. Operating responsibly in a COVID-19 environment, Castor Vali has been able to refine our approach. Through collaboration with the client vessel and vessel management, we are successfully supporting clients with remote assessments.