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International Forwarding Association Blog » Uncategorized » Safeguarding European Sea Freight with Security Strategies for Vessel Protection

Safeguarding European Sea Freight with Security Strategies for Vessel Protection

Implementing robust security measures onboard vessels not only protects cargo from piracy and unauthorized access but also bolsters the confidence of European logistics companies in the safety and reliability of shipping routes. These measures, including deployment of armed guards, installation of physical barriers, use of water cannons, and establishment of citadels, contribute to maintaining safe logistic operations.


Deployment of Armed Guards

Armed security personnel act as a direct defense against piracy and hijacking threats. Guards conduct regular patrols to identify potential threats, including unauthorized boats drawing close, unusual communications from nearby vessels, and sightings of equipment like grappling hooks or ladders that might suggest a boarding attempt.

During transit through areas known for piracy, guards are strategically placed at critical access points like the stern, near access ladders, along the railings, and main deck. This positioning aims to maximize the visibility of guards and serve as a deterrent.


Installation of Physical Barriers

Physical barriers like razor wire fencing, high-strength netting, and anti-slip paint are another component of onboard security. Razor wire fencing around the ship’s deck serves as a deterrent as it increases the risk and difficulty of attempting to board the ship. Other measures include high-strength netting that prevents access from smaller boats and anti-climb paint, which makes surfaces too slippery for intruders and complicates any boarding attempts.

Additionally, entry points like doors, hatches, and portholes can be fortified with heavy-duty locks and deadbolts to prevent forced entry. Mechanical slide bolts and crossbar locks on doors add an extra layer of security as they are designed to withstand significant force and pressure. They are often applied to restricted areas, cargo holds carrying hazardous goods, engine rooms, and the bridge.


Use of Water Canons

Water cannons with powerful jets of water can dislodge intruders from ladders or small boats. These cannons find their placement at key points around the ship, such as the deck perimeter, and near potential boarding points, like cargo loading areas. Crew members operate these cannons remotely from locations like the ship’s bridge or secured control rooms, places deemed out of reach from potential threats.


Citadels Onboard Ships

Certain vessels incorporate citadels, designated safe zones where the crew can seek refuge during a hijacking. These fortified areas are strategically located, often in areas that are hard to access and easy to defend, like below the waterline or in central compartments without direct external access.

From these secure areas, crew members can communicate with external authorities and maritime security forces while awaiting rescue or assistance. Citadels are also equipped with independent control panels linked to the ship’s main systems. They allow the crew to monitor the vessel’s status and position and adjust navigation settings to prevent pirates from navigating the ship to a location of their choosing.

Citadels are also supplied with emergency provisions, such as food, water, and medical supplies, to support the crew for several days if necessary. Additionally, these areas are designed to have independent power sources and emergency lighting to maintain functionality even if the main power is cut.