SAMI and the CGPCS

by the Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI)

Recognizing that the CGPCS is fundamental for improving the relations between the maritime security industry and the international community, since its creation SAMI has attempted to play an active role in the group. This was initially not easy. SAMI first attended the CGPCS as a member of the Marshall Islands delegation in November 2011 but we were not initially welcomed. Although the then Chairman of the CGPCS, Henk Swarttouw was keen to get us involved he could not formally invite us to be a member. Our other strong ally of the time Chris Holtby of the UK FCO, Chair of Working Group 1 . As we didn’t have a voice and our limited budget was very stretched we didn’t attend any CGPCS meetings unless they were at the IMO in the UK, as part of the MI Delegation. In November 2012 Ambassador Moon from Korea reached out and invited us to attend the WG3 Meetings in Korea in Feb 2013 but our travel budget could not stretch that far with other commitments already in the diary so we had to decline.

SAMI had been speaking to Donna Hopkins of the US State Department for some time about maritime security matters and the evolution of the private maritime security industry and when she took on the Chair of the CGPCS she made it quite clear that SAMI should be involved and we were invited to the CGPCS Counter Piracy Week in Djibouti as a delegation in our own right. The CEO of SAMI therefore attended and whilst we were there that she referred to SAMI and the private maritime security industry as “part of the maritime industry”. We are now part of the CGPCS and we think our voice is being listened to. SAMI CEO (Peter Cook) will be attending the session in New York next month. In summary the recognition of how important the contribution of SAMI can be to improve the coordination and steering of counter-piracy came late.

Core Lessons Learned

  • It is important to organize the industry in a way that it can speak with one voice in international fora
  • It is not necessarily easy to get access for the industry in a forum such as the CGPCS, even though it tries to be inclusive. Budget restriction can provide a core hindrance for the effective participation of stakeholders.
  • Most crucially, it is important for a mechanism such as the CGPCS, that “all parties” should be involved from an early stage.

A detailed reflection on the work of SAMI, its evolution and the role it plays in regulating the industry is available here: The Evolution of SAMI and the CGPCS

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