Size and Security: Defending the Supply Chain



Tim Hart and Sebastian Villyn, Senior Analysts, Control Risks, London, UK


A big-ship small-ship debate – scoring the pros and cons of larger vessels – reignites every time a newly built vessel breaks the previous record. The financial implications, impact on the market and operational risks of operating a larger vessel are therefore well documented. However, this article looks at how increased size can affect a vessel’s security.


From a security perspective, there are several benefits to operating larger vessels. Higher freeboards and service speeds typically make large container vessels more difficult to board while underway, with pirates looking to target vessels that appear more easily accessible. Yet, security requirements also lead to other considerations for larger vessels. These larger vessels are often managed by crews of the same size as those in smaller vessels, while newly-built, more technologically advanced vessels can have even smaller crews.

In securing the vessel, restricting access or providing a deterrent to potential boarders, the security requirements become greater. More razor wire along the decks, more distance for crews to travel to a citadel, larger areas for those on watch to cover and, in some cases, more security personnel required to adequately cover the…

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