Maersk explains use of African naval escort
Maersk said a report that it used a private security firm and an African naval vessel to protect one of its tankers in 2008 was a one-time incident and not a strategy it has pursued since.
A report in the Copenhagen Post on Monday said Maersk “hired out soldiers and a warship from Tanzania to protect its fleet in pirate-ridden waters off the coast of Africa, and now other shippers are expected to follow suit.”
But Maersk spokesman Michael Storgaard gave this account of the incident: “In December 2008, Brigit Maersk was very near the position of Maersk Regensburg, which was attacked. She was due to call Mombasa, but following the attack on Maersk Regensburg, she was sent in a waiting position off the Seychelles.
“To ensure the safety of the crew, vessel and cargo (vegetable oil) she was sent south of Madagascar and Maersk Tankers via a private Danish security enterprise contracted with the Tanzanian navy for an escort.” The Copenhagen Post article identified the firm as Guardian GBS.
“Payment was an amount equal to the fuel and food consumed on the vessel during the escort, which all in all took five days. Maersk Tankers assured itself of the legality of the contract and naturally consulted and informed all relevant parties,” Storgaard said.
“It was the first and only time we have contracted with the Tanzanian Navy escort (or any other East African Navy for that matter). It is thus not in any way a permanent solution or one we are considering in lieu of others,” he added.
He said since the incident “Maersk Tankers has ceased closing contracts calling in East Africa.”