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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Risk-based ship security analysis – an approach based on civilian and military methods


Department of Shipping and Marine Technology
Division of Marine Design


The demands on maritime operations today are increasingly higher in terms of control, efficiency and cost. The margins for accidents and security incidents are therefore decreasing. In the area of ship safety the regulations, guidelines and methods have a history and culture of systematic research, development and implementation. In contrast, international security is highly politicized and therefore not as transparent. The result is that a tradition of ship security is not as well established.
The overall aim of this thesis is to propose a method for ship security analysis that increases the overall safety of the crew and the ship. The objective is to develop a method that is systematic in order to ensure that assessment and response are complete and effective, and that the process is documented to provide evidence of decision-making.
The method used is probabilistic risk assessment where quantitative analysis is central. The proposed approach is consistent with the requirements of maritime safety work. However, in the work here, the proposed methods are specifically tested for security cases. This is because hazards (without intent) and threats (with intent) evolve in different ways into risk. Therefore, they must be analysed differently in order to capture the causal relationship.
The proposed approach consists of three steps: the first step consists of a threat description that documents qualitative and quantitative aspects that together describe how the threat most likely will act in relation to the ship’s vulnerability; the second step uses the threat description to define the system studied as well as the scenarios that collectively describe the harmful consequences; the third step evaluates the risk with tools from probabilistic risk assessment.
The overall conclusion is that the proposed method brings the procedure and results of ship security analysis into the open and therefore allows for criticism, improvements and shared risk knowledge, not possible with less structured methods. The results also show that the calculated probabilities agree with available statistics, which indicates that the analysis succeeds in describing the central causal relationships of the scenarios modelled.
Reference data and full text (pdf) extensive summary.

The thesis was presented and discussed in public on November 15:th, 2012, at Chalmers, Gothenburg, Sweden. Docent Jakob Kuttenkeuler from The Royal Institute of Technology was invited as the official discussion leader. The seminar was held in English.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Maritime security is a strategic asset

It is no secret that international shipping is important to the “modern way of living”. Therefore is maritime security very important and big nations like USA and Kina are dependent on that no one else dictates the conditions for shipping on international waters. To be a part of, and have a saying in, the development of maritime security is therefore seen as strategic asset in itself.

But who rules the high seas?
I would say no one. Which for most is better than that the high seas is ruled by somebody else. The big nations want to dictate their own conditions for international shipping and not be limited by others. The piracy off the coast of Somalia has however shown that maritime security is fragile and can easily be challenged.

But, the Somali piracy has also given a possibility for several nations and coalitions (for example USA, Kina, Iran, India, EU and NATO) to show that they are a force to be reckoned with in the maritime security of the future. To be present on the Indian Ocean to protect ships against pirates is politically safe way of using your naval ships on the international arena. But at the same time you can get a lot of experience out of being there at same time as everybody else. The typical friend and enemy situation is not valid. You are therefore able to work alongside nations you usually don't perform exercises with and the nations that not often participate in international exercise have the most to gain from this...
I understand that it is expensive to sustain a long-lasting commitment in the Indian Ocean, but I am not surprised that so many nations are present, IT IS THE SAFE CHOISE!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Conflict between safety and security measures

There are several conflicts between safety and security measures, on different levels.

I would guess that the most common is the safety regulation versus security risk, were a safety regulation with good intentions is formulated in way so that it is too prescriptive (i.e. the intention is lost in technical details not always applicable) and makes procedures unnecessarily complex onboard. These complex procedures will then increase the security risk by making security measures hard to get in place at the right time and drowning security issues in administrative safety work.
Another one is the fact that safety hazards often are the same for the ship and the security threat. For example; making it easy and safe for the crew to embark also can enable the threat with easier access to the ship or sailing in good weather also makes it easier for the threat to come close.
In my research I come across a lot of these challenges between safety and security. They are seldom big problems and so far not a big problem by them self. Often the crew find ways to work around the problem and no changes are “needed” higher up in the organization. However, on a system level, these challenges between safety and security is a proof of that safety and security analysis is performed separate from each other and are therefore a symptoms of one of the big limitations with the security work performed today: it is not mature enough to meet the results of the safety analysis.
The only way to find the right mix is to do safety and security analysis in the same way…