You know, out of all of the countries that I have followed, Spain has been one of those countries willing to work with private security and shipping companies the most to achieve a good level of security. Unless someone can point out a better arrangement?

Especially when Spain is paying grants to Tuna boats that cover 25% of the cost to hire security, or providing military training to that security, and most of all, allowing those PSC’s to use heavy weapons. That last one is a big plus for me, just because it reflects the reality of what is out there.

I also like the idea of placing conditions on these grants. Although why not just grant the Letter of Marque? But this is an interesting way of mitigating the principal-agent problem.  Here is the quote:

“No aid shall be granted in cases of breach of Community law, Common Fisheries Policy or legislation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activity. In these cases the aid will be refunded depending on the severity of the infringement,” the Ministry added.

Armed guards on boats are having some fantastic success against piracy. We have a 100 percent success rate. But that is no reason to get comfortable or to not evolve and stay one step ahead. Today’s pirates are consolidating, they are innovating, they are attacking using wolfpack tactics, they are using NVG’s to attack at night, and they are using weapons of war.  With that kind of enemy, we must give today’s armed guards every advantage we can.  So with that said, I give Spain high marks for this new weapons policy. –Matt


Heavy weapons allowed in tuna fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean
September 28, 2011
In order to combat pirates’ action in the Indian Ocean, the Ministry of Defense of Spain authorized the use of large caliber weapons — 12.70 mm — in tuna vessels fishing in these waters.
So far, the boats have been able to carry weapons of 7.62 millimetres, but the current ones are much more powerful and they are usually anchored using some kind of support.
The measure was announced by Defence Minister, Carme Chacón, after meeting with representatives of tuna vessels and of shipowners of the Spanish fleet in the Indian Ocean.
Thus, Spain is the only country with permission to carry heavy weapons on board to fight Somali pirates, Diario Montañes reported.
The initiative will be implemented as soon as the Government of Seychelles comes to approve the protocol submitted by the Spanish government with details of the agreement.
According to Chacón, it is “almost imminent” to carry such weapons in the Spanish vessels.
When asked about the possibility of managing an operation similar to Atalanta in the Gulf of Guinea, following the increase of crime in these waters, Chacón dismissed it.

A few weeks ago, pirates seized the tanker Mattheos I for 11 days while the vessel was sailing in the Gulf of Guinea waters.?Anyway, the minister clarified that the intention is to help the nations in the area to “reform and improve their ability to prosecute crime.”
With respect to Atalanta, Chacón emphasized the “good results” being obtained.
Story here.
Extending aid for private security aboard tuna vessels
June 13, 2011
The Government of Spain authorized the direct granting of subsidies for hiring private security aboard vessels fishing for tuna in the Indian Ocean.
According to the Royal Decree approved by the Council of Ministers, the aid will be directed to the fleet with permission to operate in these waters, consisting of 17 vessels under the Spanish flag.
The Spanish government considers it appropriate to continue with these measures, which were approved in October 2010 due to the pirate activity in the Indian Ocean.
According to the information available, in the last months the private security on board the tuna vessels managed to deter pirates and prevent attacks and the vessels hijack.
“It has been found that the possibility of defense vessels have is enough to stop pirates from boarding, and therefore from attacking the crew,” the Ministry of Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM) reported.
The grant will reach a maximum of 25 per cent of the total cost of the personal service hired, and it will be provided by MARM.
Travel costs, transport, weapons, ammunition and custody will not be supplied.
The percentage could rise to 50 per cent for those vessels whose home port is in Ceuta and Melilla, where the State has taken full management.
The remaining ships will have access to another 25 per cent of help from the autonomous region where their homeport lies.
“No aid shall be granted in cases of breach of Community law, Common Fisheries Policy or legislation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activity. In these cases the aid will be refunded depending on the severity of the infringement,” the Ministry added.
Last April, the fishing vessel Draco, of Galician capital, thwarted a pirate attack while fishing for tuna about 195 miles off the coast of Tanzania. The ship, sailing under the flag of the Seychelles, is owned by the company Mar de Hydra, from A Pobra do Caramiñal.
After the private security aboard the Draco managed to prevent seven pirates from attacking the vessel, the tuna fishing ship captain decided to pursue them, which helped the Spanish frigate Canarias — member of the European mission Atalanta — arrest them.
Story here.
Military training for security guards on board tuna vessels
November 26, 2010
The Ministry of Defence has agreed with the owners of tuna vessels fishing in the Indian Ocean, to provide military advice and training to private security officers who travel on board these ships.
The move comes in response to continuing attacks by pirates on some of the 23 tuna boats that make up the Spanish fleet. As in the last week alone, there were ten incidents.
The Defence Minister, Carme Chacon, said the military will provide “specific military training” to private agents sailing on the Spanish ships, as there are fears that the Somali pirates will “refine” their skills and that consequently, security officers would not be capable of facing these attempts.
For this, the Ministry of Defence has made facilities of the Technological Institute of La Marañosa available to shipowners, located on the outskirts of Madrid, in order for the guards to train.
This announcement marks a turning point with respect to the position held by the Spanish Government, as they did not accept them using Marines.
Faced with the concerns of the owners due to the upsurge in attacks, the Executive first agreed that private security could use heavy weapons, changing the rules, and now is willing to train them with military technology.
So far, the military has been limited on their ability to “advise” the staff traveling on tuna vessels in the use of large caliber weapons. But from 1 December, the Army also will instruct them in “military tactics”, said the Defense.
The agreement was signed this week after a meeting between the Ministries of Defense and the Environment with representatives from the Organization of Associate Producers of Large Tuna Freezers (OPAGAC) and the National Association of Tuna Freezer Shipowners (ANABAC).
The owners of the fishing fleet were satisfied with the measure. However, the Spanish Association of Escorts (ASES), which brings together various actors engaged in tuna fishing vessels, says the initiative is an “intrusion” of the government in the private security sector, as it will lead to “unfair competition for existing training centers.”
The agreement includes other items such as the presence of vaults to provide shelter until the arrival of troops. Chacon said that “it is a proposal that the tuna owners are still testing” and confirmed that it “has already been implemented on a ship.”
Another of the issues raised, of concern to the owners, is the restriction of the Seychelles authorities to private operators using heavy weapons (machine guns and rifles) in their territorial waters. In this sense, Chacón assured that they are increasing diplomatic contacts to lift these limitations.
According to La Voz de Galicia, the panorama seems more complicated to resolve the judicial front of the Atalanta Operation. The countries participating in military deployments agree on the need for regional and international tribunals to arrest and imprison the pirates.
Faced with the collapse of the courts of Kenya and the Seychelles to the increase in arrests, and the absence of an international court, means that many attackers have to be released due to their being no judge.
For this reason, Chacon announced that on 14 December, she will meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, to try to find a solution to this situation.
The minister stressed that “all the pirates who have attacked the Spanish flagged vessels so far, have been convicted, including two involved in the kidnapping of Alakrana which occurred in October 2009, soon they will be judged by the Audiencia National.
Story here.