On 1 February, the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (“SAMI”) launched its International Accreditation Programme for Private Maritime Security Companies. Members of SAMI will undergo a three-stage process of due diligence, systems checks and site visits. Whilst the programme will be managed by SAMI, all accreditations will be performed by an independent body, the National Security Inspectorate.

SAMI states that in developing the programme, it has worked with marine insurers, Flag States, shipping associations, seafarer organisations and the maritime security industry.

As the risk of piracy continues to grow, more and more owners are considering deploying armed guards on board their vessels. It is essential that such guards are provided by experienced, reputable security companies. One of SAMI’s aims is to assist in identifying such companies, by introducing a level of regulatory discipline to security companies’ operations in the maritime sector and by establishing a benchmark for standards within the industry. It is essential that owners do their due diligence when considering which security companies to deal with, and SAMI’s accreditation programme will certainly assist with this.