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Easi-Chock now firmly established after four years


Increase in piracy attempts on tankers has refocused efforts to deal with the threat both on board and ashore with multiple defence layers now needed on the ship.

Easi-Chock founder Wayne Harrison, has come a long way since his brush with Somali pirates in Somali pirates while employed as an armed guard on a chemical carrier. Harrison was on his first anti-piracy mission, first reported in an earlier issue of Tanker Operator Magazine.

To recap, on the 31st October, 2010, at the height of the Somali piracy attacks, Harrison was part of a security team that was sailing on a chemical tanker from Beira, Mozambique to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

During the early morning handover, the OOW identified a contact at 3.5 nautical miles on the radar. The Master went to the port side to look for the unidentified vessel using binoculars – it was then he noticed a skiff fast approaching and it immediately became clear that a pirate attack was imminent.

With the safety of the crew a priority and time running out, the general alarm was sounded and the crew made their way to the engine room, as previously practised. Harrison and his security team then began to confirm that all entry points on the ship were secured with the improvised hardening equipment, which consisted of items fashioned from materials they had to hand, including planks of wood, steel bars and grates. These were attached to the doors and portholes.

The vessel was already fitted with razor wire as per with industry guidelines, but the security team installed additional layers. Despite this, the pirates were able to board the ship within minutes.

Gunshots could be heard as the pirates boarded. They proceeded to the bridge where they attempted to shoot through the first door allowing access to the main stairwell, which led directly to the engine room entrance. Harrison then climbed up the funnel casing to call for help using his own satellite phone.

Thanks to the crew’s improvised hardening methods, the pirates were unable to breach the first door. After several hours of being locked in the engine room and the security team confirming all cabins and decks were clear of any pirates, the crew escaped shaken but unscathed.


Easi-Chock is born

Having witnessed first-hand the ease with which the pirates were able to bypass the vessel’s exterior security measures, it was clear to Harrison that further action had to be taken to prevent future attacks. He realised the need for security products that would delay the time taken for pirates to gain control of a tanker. As a result in 2012, he founded Easi-Chock.

The idea behind Easi-Chock was to provide products that could fortify the various entry points on tankers to:

  • Slow down attackers.
  • Create as much time as possible for rescue.
  • Demoralise the attackers by obstructing their progress.

Four years on, Harrison has developed a range of low-cost, easy-to-install products that are claimed to be effective deterrents against acts of piracy, theft, and kidnap and ransom, mitigating the need for expensive armed guards on tankers, which cost anything between $10,000-$15,000 per transit.

 

The following products are now available:

  • The Easi-Chock – a tubular gadget which prevents a door handle lever mechanism from being depressed. This can be fitted to internal and exit doors in under 30 seconds and can withstand up to 80 KG of force. It can be removed in under five seconds.
  • The Easi-Block – a steel plate designed to protect the portholes of emergency exit doors situated throughout the accommodation decks. It can withstand 800 KG of pull and only takes 20 minutes to fit.
  • The Easi-Block Padlock Protection Box – a simple metal box that shrouds the padlock from attack.
  • The Easi-Grille – a lightweight grille designed to be internally installed onto portholes situated throughout the superstructure of a vessel. It can withstand more than 1.5 tonnes of direct pull.

He made a deliberate decision to create a range of practical products to protect the crew wherever they were trading. These require little training to use, no welding and can be installed without the need for drydocking – to ensure increased security that can be delivered simply and effectively.


Multiple defence layers

Current security measures deployed on tankers, such as razor wire and water cannons are heavily focused on preventing boarding, but fail to deter attackers once they are on board. For this reason, tankers require multiple layers of defence upon boarding.

Since Easi-Chock was established, the products have been fitted on around 150 vessels, including tankers. To install Easi­Chock equipment throughout a tanker costs on average £7,000. This draws a stark contrast with the price of an armed security team, and the £20,000 spent per year to replenish razor wire, which is often easily bypassed by pirates.

There have been no reported attacks on vessels fitted with Easi-Chock’s products in four years that the company has been in existence, it was claimed.

 

TankerOperator

 

 

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