Friday, May 8, 2009

Discussing Piracy Risk of PCTCs.

A PCTC Alongsside

Risk Assessment consists of an objective evaluation of risk in which assumptions and uncertainties are clearly considered and presented. (Wikipedia) (FAA Risk Assessment here)
I have talked to many people with regard to what the level of risk is involved in a transit of a car ship (PCTC) through the Gulf of Aden and what countermeasures are appropriate. What I have learned is that this is an emotional issue for many people and each persons views seem more related to that persons political outlook and personality then practicality and that the passion with which the views are held and how vigorously they express those view is not related to that persons level of expertise.

I am not just talking about laymen, the views of ship's captains are all over the map as well. My view is that the risk should be evaluated the same as other risks the ship must contend with such as fire, collision, grounding, labor troubles, weather and so on. (and on and on)

In the case of a piracy attack on a PCTC running at full speed I believe we are dealing with a risk with a large potential loss and a low probability of occurring. Appropriate countermeasures should be evaluated using cost and benefits analysis. Issues with regards to the use of deadly force and the use of lethal vs non-lethal weapons should be resolved at company level and shipboard discussions are generally not worthwhile nor are they particularly enlightening.

When I encounter a person who knows very little about the reality of the situation, assumes that I have no understanding and is determined to educate me, I change the subject and offer them a cup of coffee


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