Superyacht Security Considerations For 2022

As we look to 2022, the superyacht industry continues to grow and it is currently estimated there are more than 5,500 vessels 30m or over. A growing number of superyacht owners are less interested in the Mediterranean, preferring to travel to more remote destinations. Countries like Madagascar and the eastern coast of South America are popular, as are more isolated destinations. New opportunities for exploration bring significant security challenges and superyacht owners and crew are increasingly becoming aware of three major security concerns: drones, piracy and the insider threat.

Drones
Superyachts continue to face threats from these unmanned aerial vehicles. Drones have been used in land-based bombings – since the attempted assassination of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in 2018. However last year, 2021, saw a significant increase with Houthi attacks utilising drones against Saudi Arabian military and economic facilities. Increasingly, commercial shipping vessels have been targeted with both airborne drones and unmanned boats loaded with explosives. Despite the dangers, however, superyachts are more likely to targeted for ‘espionage’ or encounter threats to privacy. Drones equipped with cameras can act as eyes for paparazzi or pirates preparing the kidnapping of a high-value target. Many superyachts continue to invest in cutting-edge technology to identify drones and neutralise them, and as we move into 2022, the technology, method of attack and targeted risk of drone attack will increase, and superyacht owners, captains and crew should look to evolve their knowledge and skill alongside this.

Piracy
The threat of Piracy should always be considered. Commercial vessels ‘boarding and ransom demands’ in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia is common and private superyachts are also at risk. New threats are emerging off the Gulf of Guinea, and across South America, prompting Superyachts to employ more sophisticated deterrents. Anti-piracy equipment is being utilised ranging from boarding prevention to emergency measures. Escape pods are increasingly common aboard yachts that can be deployed quickly, have dependable GPS functions, and offer the conditions necessary for human survival. It’s also worth mentioning how technology will change the function of cyber criminals. Superyachts, like many other modern “smart homes,” have adopted and implemented smart technology, and with this comes an increased risk of cyber-attack. In 2021 the IMO introduced new cyber regulations to ensure all vessels have basic requirements, setting the standard for cyber security. In 2022, superyacht owners, captains and crew should continue to evolve their cyber security practices, with regular training and authentication.

Insider Threat
Crew members frequently leave one vessel and find work on another due to the transient nature of superyachts. As a result, questions must be addressed about whether crew have had thorough background checks and undertaken due-diligence procedures. Threats and risks are real, and they should be treated as such. What is the name of the captain? When it comes to catering and housekeeping, who is in charge? Who have they previously worked for? Failure to resolve this could have a wide range of implications, ranging from business meetings being overheard and information being passed on to third parties as insider trading, to theft, assisting hostile forces attacking the vessel, or criminal misconduct.

As superyachts continue to seek out remote destinations, the challenges they confront will only grow. Owners and crew are increasingly becoming aware and vigilant to all manner of threats in order to ensure safe transit. To find out how we can aid in securing your vessel, contact us at enquiries@priavosecurity.com.