Flags of Convenience continue to cause global security concerns

The Windward report found that of the 9,000 ships which passed through European waters last month, 5,500 sailed under a flag of convenience.

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The potential abuse of flags of convenience has again been brought to center stage with a feature in the Financial Times that argues that global terrorism is exploiting weaknesses in supply chain tracking and tracing.

FT.com –  a company owned by the Financial Times Group – has published a report compiled by Windward, an Israeli maritime intelligence company gathering shipping data from public and proprietary sources and using algorithms to identify unusual or suspicious activities.

Alarmingly, analysts have discovered cases of where vessels have behaved hightly erratically while moving undeclared goods in troubled waters.

Of special concern to intelligence analysts is that a vessel sailing from Turkey destined for Libya took a sudden turn in transit while turning off all of its transmitting devices. The ship then proceeded on a coast-hugging voyage to Italy.

The Chief Operating Officer for Maritime Asset Security and Training Services and Logistics warns:

“So far, the thing about maritime security, and particularly terrorists exploiting weaknesses there, is that it’s the dog that’s not barked. But the potential is there. The world outside Europe, North Africa for example, is awash with weapons. If you can get a bunch of AK47s into a container, embark that container from Aden then you could get them into Hamburg pretty easily.”

The Windward report found that of the 9,000 ships which passed through European waters last month, 5,500 sailed under a flag of convenience.







About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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