In the light of the ongoing threat, owners are often opting for the protection of security detachments. SAMI (Security Association for the Maritime Industry) made the intial progress with checking security company credentials and IMO produced some guidelines for owners and flag states on parameters for security companies. ISO/PAS28007 was released in late 2012 and is a compliance audit scheme for private armed security companies. The pilot scheme is running between June and November 2013.
However, flag states have generally failed to clearly specify whether they allow armed guards, thus leaving legality an open question. The UK insurance position will in the first instance take account of Section 41 of the MIA, the implied warranty of legality under English law.
The area where ships are potential targets remains vast. The JWC Listed Area is currently similar to but not the same as the UKMTO and BMP areas but in part serves a similar purpose, to alert ships to the potential dangers. Pirate activity continues, although for the time being, at a reduced level. The US Executive Order effectively requires insurers to contact OFAC should they be involved in a piracy case.
EUNAVFOR believes that voyage registration is falling and over 25% of vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden fail to register with MSCHOA or report to UKMTO and are therefore unable to benefit fully from the naval protection which is available. In one sample of incidents, out of 15,000 vessels which registered their transits, only 2 were taken.