ESS&SA has become the first Private Maritime Security Company (PMSC) within the Netherlands, to achieve certification to the ISO/PAS 28007 standard with global certifier, LRQA. ESS&SA is now one of a select few PMSCs worldwide certified as such. This certification assures clients that ESS&SA provides high quality maritime security services, and that they contribute to establishing a uniform and high level norm for the maritime security industry.
According to ESS&SA the regulation of private protection of merchant vessels, being a relatively young industry, has been very fragmented. To put an end to this fragmentation, ESS&SA actively contributed to developing one standard for the regulation of private maritime security which has been embodied in the ISO/PAS 28007 standard.
ESS&SA is the first, and currently the only, Dutch PMSC to have achieved certification to ISO/PAS 28007. ISO/PAS 28007 is a quality and risk management system especially designed for PMSCs and ensures that ESS&SA can execute its services undermining all affiliated risks and therewith ensuring the shipowners of high quality protection of all seafarers. Currently, only this ISO process ensures a waterproof system for controlled and qualitative strong protection of merchant vessels.
This certification of a Dutch PMSC is an important step within the private maritime security industry in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is the only flag State within the European Union that has no regulation in place to allow and regulate privately contracted maritime protection. A new law is in process of approval, but will only enter into force in 2015. According to stakeholders, which includes the Royal Dutch Association of Shipowners (KVNR), there is a strong need for a transitional system as many seafarers sailing under the Dutch flag momentarily sail through the High Risk Area unprotected. The ISO/PAS 28007 process serves perfectly as a transitional system for the Dutch government, ensuring both a controlled preparation and execution of maritime security services.
“We are pleased to join the international top of PMSCs while the process in the Netherlands for developing a legal framework for private maritime security is still ongoing. Through this certification ESS&SA ratifies its promise to be a leading PMSC in the industry. Operating in a former legal grey area ESS&SA has always been driven to abide by the highest international standards and has committed itself to stimulate the development of important regulation of the industry at every level. We fully support the current Dutch development of a legal system for private maritime security to protect the Dutch fleet. We hope therewith, as a result of this ISO/PAS 28007 certification, to be an example for the industry and a counsellor for all stakeholders,” says Mr. Djavan Romney (CEO).
The only element to be added to the ISO/PAS 28007-process is a reporting regime to the Dutch government. Such a regime makes the process entirely suitable and ready to use for the Dutch government to fully protect the people on its fleet. As ESS&SA has at heart to protect all seafarers who’s life is endangered by pirates, ESS&SA is collaborating with Dutch shipping companies to convince the Dutch government that a transitional system and full protection of the Dutch fleet is at its fingertips with an ISO/PAS 28007 certified company.
Maritime Security News Note:
And so the march to compliance continues. LRQA has issued ISO PAS 28007 to several UK maritime security companies so far, including Drum Cussac, Neptune Maritime Security and Black Pearl to name just three.
As the new de facto standard to which PMSCs should comply, it’s hopefully going to weed a few cowboys out of the industry, not least because the ISO isn’t just a one hit certificate. Regular auditing is in place to ensure PMSCs continue to comply with all aspects of the ISO, which can only be a good thing.
Unlike random membership of professional bodies who don’t seem to have any teeth or even comment on bad practice by their members, the ISO PAS 28007 is something CSOs and shipping companies can actually put some faith in. It’s very hard to secure and it will be very interesting to see just how many shipping firms begin to specify certification as part of their due diligence process.